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HRDs report growing demand for health and wellbeing cover

Sheldon Kenton, Managing Director -  Bupa Global
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A quarter (26 percent) of staff expect more from their employer in terms of health and wellbeing benefits than five years ago. Cointributor Sheldon Kenton, Managing Director –  Bupa Global.

International private medical insurance and flexible working hours are the most desirable benefits. Nine in ten employees (90 percent) say they consider their health the responsibility of their employer.

Bupa Global, the international health insurer, has carried out extensive research among 150 HR Directors and 1,851 globally mobile employees. It found that employees are demanding more from their employers in terms of health and wellbeing benefits whilst working abroad, and their international private medical insurance (IPMI) in particular.

A third (32 percent) of HR Directors expect their global workforce to increase in the next five years, and correspondingly more than half (52 percent) report a rising demand for international private medical insurance over the past five years.

The research also found that a quarter (26 percent) of staff working overseas expect more health and wellbeing benefits from their employer today than they did five years ago. International private medical insurance and flexible working hours were among the most desired benefits, with nearly three quarters (73 percent) of employees expecting access to treatment in their host country. Two thirds (66 percent) of employees who receive international private medical insurance from their employer say they wouldn’t travel abroad without it.

When asked more specifically about looking after their health when abroad, 82 percent of senior executives and 90 percent of employees say they consider it the responsibility of their employer.

Sheldon Kenton, Managing Director of Bupa Global commented on the findings: “Employees are becoming increasingly engaged with their own health and wellbeing, and are calling on their employers to take an active role in it too. We know that people now want and expect to receive treatment in their host country and have access to the same standard of medical care while abroad, rather than travelling home. With more employees likely to work abroad over the next five years, employers need to work with a global healthcare provider which can offer cover to complement and enhance any domestic plans, improving the health of their workforce.”

What’s more, 79 percent of HR directors said providing private medical insurance is an important differentiator from competitors. Employers’ main reasons for providing health cover to staff were recruitment and retention, followed by actively wanting to look after their employees’ health and wellbeing.

  • Top requirements by employees working abroad for IPMI
  • Healthcare cover in host country (73 percent)
  • Access to top medical facilities (42 percent)
  • Cover for chronic / hereditary conditions (43 percent)
  • Mental health cover (34 percent)
  • Domestic care in home country (25 percent)

The research also shows that it is even more crucial that adequate health cover is in place as people progress in their career, with mental health becoming an increasing workplace concern as people climb the career ladder. When asked what health and wellbeing issues employees are likely to face as they become more senior within an organisation, HR directors listed increased stress (39 percent), depression (36 percent) and anxiety (33 percent) as the biggest concerns.

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