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More firms offer PHI cover to all employees

More companies are offering private health insurance to all employees in a bid to beat NHS waiting lists and get people back to work, according to benefits consultant Towers Perrin.

The company says this is a key finding from its sec-ond corporate healthcare survey of 120 top UK companies, representing more than two million employees.

An increasing concern of employers identified is the increasing premium costs and claims of incidences. The survey reveals that 38 per cent companies have seen a rise of 10 per cent in PMI premiums over the last 12 months – a third of those over 20 per cent.

The majority of respondents have seen an increase in long-term disability premiums over the last 12 months with the cost rising to 1.8 per cent of payroll costs in 2002 from 0.85 per cent last year.

One of the methods employers are increasingly using to try and control these costs is a health screening centre, where they can monitor the health of senior employees and treat any conditions before they become serious. Sixty-six per cent of all respondents said they use such a service as part of their healthcare package.

The survey also found that a flexible benefit package is becoming more common, with 15 per cent saying they provide a flex arrangement and a further 37 per cent saying they are considering doing so.

Practice leader for health and risk consulting Kate Bleuel says: “In the current competitive business climate, escalating costs for employee health and benefits can scarcely be tolerated. Organisations need to design and manage the most appropriate range of healthcare benefits for their employees to control premium increases and overall health costs.”

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