Jelf Employee Benefits predictions for 2011 include an increase in the immense strain that the NHS will face, putting increased pressure on private medical insurers and the amplified financial burden on employers who provide workplace health solutions.
Wayne Pontin of Jelf Employee Benefits says, “The overall status of the economy will have a huge impact on the healthcare sector in the UK. There are a lot of factors pointing towards an increase in private medical insurance costs and employers are likely to be looking for ways to mitigate this expense. There is a stronger need than ever for employers to take a long-term view and avoid any knee-jerk reaction.”
The main issues for 2011:
- Numerous NHS pressures: With 40 percent of adults set to be obese by 2025 and sickness absence already costing UK business nearly £14 billion a year, the government will have to commence co-ordination on workplace health. Whilst there were no cuts in NHS budgets there are cost savings that all Primary Care Trusts will have to consider in order to keep within their budgets. Herein lies a dilemma because we foresee more high cost biological therapies being pushed into the private sector that will ultimately increase private medical insurance costs. In addition, the launch of the new GP charter will no doubt have many teething problems during 2011
- Increased waiting lists: the pressures to keep within budgets and increased use of the NHS will see an increase in waiting lists - a potentially worrying step backwards for the NHS and patients alike
- Employers feeling the strain: Increasing costs, increasing tax and National Insurance costs up, mean employers must invest where it makes sense – in health interventions that are known to be effective. Employers will require a greater understanding of the health profile of their workforce and will need to mitigate cost increases. Workplace health may see an increase in demand for employer funded cash plans
- Insurers will start to develop a broader array of interventions that support employees to lead healthier lives.