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Affordable healthcare coverage benefits can give your business a competitive edge

17 January 2024 Reo Botes, Managing Executive at Essential Employee Benefits
Reo Botes

Reo Botes

Competitive advantage is essential for business success, however finding that ‘edge’ can be challenging, especially when technology levels the playing field between organisations. It is proven, though, that happier, healthier employees are more productive and therefore help businesses to be more profitable.

Access to quality healthcare is an essential component of an employee’s overall wellness. Including options such as affordable medical cover into the employee benefits offered, can help to extend healthcare access to lower income segments, which can lead to improved retention rates, increased productivity, less absenteeism, and enhanced engagement. This all contributes to staff retention and satisfaction, improving the bottom line, and thus bolstering your competitive edge.

The cost factor
Medical aid is a common employee benefit, however even if subsidised lower income earners cannot always afford these options. Costs could be as high as a quarter or more of their monthly income. Without healthcare cover, private healthcare is often unattainable, and the cost and stress can deter people from seeking treatment when they need medical attention. The result is over-stressed and unhappy employees, who may be struggling with mental and physical health issues, which could lead to less productivity.

Offering different healthcare options, including affordable solutions such as Health insurance, as part of the benefits package will enable more employees to access quality private healthcare, easing their stress, improving productivity levels and at the same time helping organisations to attract and retain talent.

A complex landscape
The entire medical aid landscape can also be extremely complex, intimidating, and overwhelming, and many people simply do not know where to start. Adding uncomplicated health insurance options not only reduces financial pressure, but it can also improve uptake as the benefits are often easier to understand, and these products can be a stepping stone as people progress in their careers toward more comprehensive healthcare cover options.

If part of corporate culture and strategy is placing value on the people component, having additional healthcare cover options is essential and health insurance is a simple and cost-effective way of increasing the scope of benefits available. There are highly affordable products in the market from as little as R400 a month, and if companies subsidise 50% of this cost, it becomes far more affordable for employees and the company. Health insurance offers benefits in line with lower costs, it gives people access to quality private healthcare they could not previously afford, which can improve their overall well-being.

Benefits with purpose
As with all employee benefits, it is essential to find the right basket of solutions for the specific employees of a business, so it is important to sit down with specialist advisors and engage with employees as they grow. This will enable organisations to offer the right benefits for every point in their journey. Benefits need to be approached with purpose, and brokers or specialist advisors can help to engage and deliver the appropriate solutions.

Explore and compare various providers to get a strategic advantage when it comes to aligning rates and benefits to your risk and needs. South Africa is a diverse nation and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to healthcare. Catering for a wider variety of employees helps to foster increased diversity and inclusivity, which are both linked to better business outcomes.

It is important to remember that the inclusion of healthcare benefits is strategic and should support your long-term vision for the company and its employees. Businesses may not see an immediate increase to the bottom line, but rather an increase in overall wellbeing and productivity which will translate to a return on investment in the long term.

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