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Giving Employees What They Want: Control Of Their Health Contributions

Regardless of your employee’s experience, work efforts, loyalty or commitment to their work, life is known for throwing some unexpected curve balls, particularly when it comes to our health – or that of our families. When these situations arise, one way to help reduce the associated stress is to have some financial support that doesn’t involve going into debt or worse, delaying medical care because of the cost. 

While employers may set pay rates, we can’t dictate how they’re spent, or if any funds are being set aside for unexpected health-related occurrences. While historically companies have tried to help by contributing to health insurance payments, these have proven to be restrictive and conditional, leaving some surprised to learn they’re completely out of pocket for any expenses. Furthermore, insurance plans take no consideration for the mental, emotional and physical toll that having a sick family member can have, with plans being only linked to the specific person.

With unemployment rates at record lows while inflation and the cost of living are skyrocketing, many organisations are now listening to what their employees really want when it comes to their health benefits: choice, flexibility and freedom.

The leading way the employers in 2022 are supporting their team’s well-being and retaining their key staff is through employer aid payments. Delivered by taking health funds that would otherwise go into the hands of an insurer or other pathway, and redirecting it into an employees’ personal digital ‘health wallet’ that is available to spend on any medical or health-related appointment, service, product or co-payment for themselves or anyone in their family. 

The services your employees choose to use are entirely their decision and have no limitations within the HealthNow platform – and the funds never expire. Here’s a look into whether offering employer aid payments could be right for both your employees, and the future of your business. 

Employer Aid Empowers Your Team With Control & Choice Of Their Health

Getting employer aid payments gives control to your team over how they care for their health, without being limited to strict terms and conditions, exclusions, or policies that don’t acknowledge their personal circumstances. This means that your staff don’t need to endure delays in accessing healthcare or be out of pocket during the significant stand-down periods that health insurance often comes with. With delays in seeking treatment often being associated with poorer health outcomes or delayed diagnoses, this can have a big impact on a person’s well-being.

Strict policies also fail to acknowledge the individual health-related circumstances that can have profound emotional and physical effects on a person may not be something ‘textbook’ that you’ll find in an insurance plan – like struggling with natural conception pathways. Here, being able to access things like conception vitamins, nutritionist appointments, acupuncture or fertility specialists – which are often excluded in insurance plans due to the costs – can go a long way for the health of them and their families. Another example where standard insurance fails to consider the individual is if their personal health and wellness are being impacted by the illness of a family member. With employer aid, the employee is able to step in and cover the costs and reduce their emotional burden too. 

HealthNow’s health wallet, contributed to directly via an employer aid plan, solves all of these problems and restores choice and control to those who need it.

Employer Aid Allows You To Be Proactive About Your Health

Health insurance is often viewed as the ‘backup’ you have when something goes wrong. For those who maintain relatively good health, it can feel like the money is just changing hands every year, without them reaping many benefits or recouping the full costs. Even when claims are made, they’re not guaranteed to be accepted, with only between 62% to 72% of private health insurance claims lodged being paid out, according to 2020 NZ data.

Those receiving employer aid payments, on the other hand, are free to decide whether to keep the funds contributed through employer aid available in the HealthNow wallet for when something goes wrong, or to make general health improvements before pain or injury starts – and before they have to take time off work due to the severity of the problem. 

Being proactive about one’s health can look like seeing a chiropractor to address any back niggles or desk ergonomics and work posture before they turn into a painful problem with a lengthy recovery. Or helping improve comfort during periods of sickness like picking up that air humidifier to help ease congestion and improve breathing quality – especially if you have young children in the home.

Better yet, the funds contributed through employer aid inside of a person’s digital health wallet never expire or roll over – they are there to use when you need them.

Employer Aid Yields Healthier, Happier Employees With Fewer Sick Days

While it’s easy to see how employer aid payments put your team first and give them many benefits like freedom, flexibility and control, employer aid payments aren’t without benefits for the employer, too. Research shows that when employers support the health and wellness of their employees it:

  • Leads to happier and more engaged work environments
  • Reduces unplanned or elongated sick periods
  • Increases productivity and morale
  • May encourage employee retention

Sick days can be a big issue for businesses, estimated to cost NZ employers in excess of one billion dollars per year in addition to the risk of lowering productivity by 18%. This is before the current assessment of health access where up to 24% of individuals are delaying and neglecting health due to cost barriers.

Beyond absenteeism is also the issue of presenteeism – attending work whilst ill and therefore not performing to your full ability. When health circumstances are affecting a person in not just a physical capacity but a mental or emotional capacity, the result can lead to presenteeism. While mental and emotional struggles are often not covered by general health insurance policies, a person can choose to use their health wallet funds to address these issues, whether that looks like therapy services, vitamin supplements, sleep aids – you name it.

Get Your Business On Board

Getting your business set up to contribute to your employees health wallets is free and easy – and can be implemented with no additional out-of-pocket costs than what you’re already paying towards their health insurance plans or other wellness measures. Payments can be automatically made monthly or at a frequency and dollar value that you choose. You can leave your employee’s health wallets open to be used on any health or medical service with HealthNow, or specify the services you’d prefer.

HealthNow provides updates on your impact to help you measure the value of employer aid within your company. Your contributions are not subject to the Fringe Benefits Tax, are free for your employees to use (they even get a free $10 credit with their free sign-up), and HealthNow has an ever-growing trusted network of medical providers to keep your staff healthy and happy.

To get started, register your company’s interest via this contact form and a HealthNow team member will get back to you promptly.


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