Employers need to encourage better take-up of cancer support benefits
As cancer diagnoses continue to rise, and survival rates also increase, the breadth of support within employee benefits available to those diagnosed has significantly improved. Modern corporate insurers are acutely aware of this and have become very adept at looking after cancer patients – and for their dependents too.
However, employers often don’t check the small print and wealth of support available, which means staff and employers both lose out on a vital, valuable benefit that the employer is often already paying for.
The Health Insurance Group wants to see much better utilisation of cancer support benefits in the workplace and is using World Cancer Day as a reminder to employers to check what cancer benefits their staff could access as part of their current provisions.
What’s usually available within existing packages?
A wealth of practical and emotional support is available within private medical insurance (PMI), employee assistance programmes (EAPs), group protection (employer sponsored income protection, critical illness, life assurance) and financial wellbeing and education programmes.
Individuals who have to make a claim for cancer are routinely given a dedicated case manager who will be their regular point of contact for all aspects of their claim. They can offer advice and support on all areas of their care and make it as easy as possible to access treatment and the benefits available to them.
Dedicated cancer support helplines can be provided that give access to chemotherapy nurses and counselling with professionals who specialise in supporting people with cancer.
It is now more widely recognised that the mental and emotional toll of cancer diagnosis and treatment can be heavy and last long beyond the conclusion of treatment. Some providers will offer support after treatment has ceased.
The one diagnosed is not the only one affected. Support can also be extended to family members who might have questions and concerns with which they don’t want to burden the primary patient.
Cancer can also have a financial impact, such as loss of earnings, increased bills (e.g. increased heating needed for patients convalescing at home) and altered childcare arrangements. Help with managing finances can be offered which eases this burden.
All benefits are not the same, and it’s important that employers know what’s on offer when they make their purchasing decisions.
Brett Hill, managing director for The Health Insurance Group says:
‘Many insurers have worked hard at developing excellent support that goes far beyond simply funding treatment. They have the infrastructure and ability to support both the physical and emotional wellbeing of cancer patients, as well as others affected.
‘We all work in a price-conscious environment, and when employers ask about cost, what they’re really asking about is value. Employers that utilise their benefits are the ones that get the most value. Not just in terms of the benefit itself, but in increased loyalty, engagement and productivity.
‘As employers extend their benefits to encompass a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing, it’s imperative that they know what’s available when they purchase employee benefits, that they let their staff know it’s there for them, and, most importantly, encourage them to utilise it.