BHSF is introducing three major changes to its health cash plan products:
* Premiums are being raised for BHSF Corporate and THS Corporate health cash plans from 1 September and for Healthscheme plans from 1 October 2014. BHSF cites ‘a steady increase in the cost of healthcare treatments’ as one reason behind the increased premiums.
* A number of product changes and improvements will also be implemented at the same time. These include a better GP helpline to include a ‘virtual GP’ webcam consultation and private prescription service, and extended maternity benefit for the adoption of children up to three years old. The complementary therapies benefit will include reflexology and there is also a new discounted gym membership scheme. The home help service is however being removed due to changes in how local authorities provide the service.
BHSF’s Network Benefits discount site now includes 50 significantly improved discounts. These include at major high street brands such as Sainsbury’s, Asda, Debenhams and Boots.
What They Say
Managing director of BHSF Services Ltd, Brian Hall, said: "More than ever, our clients are looking for cost-effective ways to engage their employees, and to offer an extra perk, without committing to a large outlay.
"Our new Network Benefits offers will help new and existing clients to offer their employees the highest discounts available, with a much smaller price tag than many of our rivals."
What We Say
"Health cash plans have traditionally been reluctant to increase prices, instead preferring to sell higher contribution plans and to encourage customers to trade up to get higher value benefits. However, if claims costs rise, then it makes sense to change the price the customer pays and the benefits they get and this in effect is what BHSF has done.
"At the same time BHSF is also tweaking benefits (another health cash plan tradition…). Nothing major – although most should prove useful to clients – while losing the home help benefit is disappointing but perhaps the only practical solution. Certainly, health cash plans can afford to offer dynamic benefits, changing packages as demand and availability (affordability?) changes.
"Don’t underestimate the value of discounts either – the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association reports the market grew by 6% in the first quarter of 2014."