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Businesses switch to low-cost, high-value private healthcare

Healthcare intermediaries told Benenden Health that affordability and value for money are the most important factors for their clients when choosing a healthcare provider.

15 May 2024, by Megan Anderson.


Group of young worked in an office environment

Affordable healthcare provider Benenden Health found 75% of intermediaries are reporting an increase of interest in low-cost private healthcare from businesses across the UK in the previous year, overtaking Private Medical Insurance (PMI) (73%) and Cash Plans (61%).

After surveying healthcare intermediaries, Benenden Health also found that only 27% said they have seen an increase in Employee Assisted Programmes (EAP) enquiries over the previous year, down from 58% in 2023.

The findings were coupled with 35% of healthcare intermediaries saying that more businesses are ‘trading down’ to less expensive products in the previous 12 months, with only 11% finding businesses are ‘trading up’ to more expensive products.

The trend of businesses moving to low-cost providers can be associated with a rise in health insurance rates in 2024 by at least 20%. Reuters also reported that premiums for workplace private healthcare rose by less than 2% between 2019 and 2022, comparatively. Healthcare intermediaries also ranked key product benefits for businesses, including product cost, value for money, and customer service.

Benenden Health’s Chief Commercial Officer, Andy Wiggans adds, "With the UK slipping into a recession when this piece of research was conducted, it isn’t surprising to see that businesses are switching to more affordable options.

"However, it is interesting to see that businesses are expecting more value from their healthcare providers, regardless of any commitment to increasing spend.

"Less accessibility to NHS care, recognition of a multi-generational workforce with diverse health needs, and the need to justify and scrutinise every business expense due to inflation, are just a few factors that making the decision for businesses.

"Benenden Health is committed as ever to support intermediaries and businesses by continually developing our product package to show its value and, ultimately, support employees with their health."

Simon Friday, Private Clients Manager at intermediary Advo Group says, "Times are tough right now, so businesses are looking for ‘free’ value-added services that allow employees to be able to use their schemes, without needing to make a full claim. Plus, any additional support offered by healthcare providers means leaders in businesses are not tied down with the day to day of benefit management.

"There is also huge shift in expectation from employees that their employer will look after them from a health and protection perspective. With growing NHS issues, businesses won’t part with their money if they are not convinced that the healthcare provision is useful for all employees."

For more information on Benenden Health's business healthcare for Intermediaries, visit our Intermediaries site.