Health Now

Why Businesses Are Switching Their Employee’s Health Benefits From ‘Reactive’ To ‘Proactive’

In both New Zealand and the US, the majority of people have employed a ‘reactive’ approach to healthcare as opposed to a proactive one that prioritises their health and well-being to help them reduce the incidence of illness and injury, and generally help them to live longer and fuller lives. And unfortunately – it’s costing them more than they realise in doctor’s appointments, repeated allied health visits and other rehabilitative care – much of which is focused on treating the ‘symptoms’ as opposed to getting down to the root cause of the problem to make genuine positive changes in their lives. 

The rate of chronic health conditions in New Zealand is on the rise. According to the NZ Health Survey in 2018/19:


  • 778,000 adults were diagnosed with depression, bipolar and/or anxiety disorder, with many living without a formal diagnosis
  • 323,000 adults were experiencing psychological distress
  • 227,000 adults were diagnosed with diabetes, with 1 in 4 New Zealanders living undiagnosed with pre-diabetes symptoms which will still be taking a toll on their health and well-being
  • 452,000 adults were taking medication for asthma
  • 168,000 adults were diagnosed with ischaemic heart disease


While chronic conditions are often multifaceted and include a level of genetic predisposition, it is well documented that lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise play a large role in illness prevention and symptom management – yet access to these ‘proactive’ services such as an exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, nutritionist, dietitian or similar health service remain as out-of-pocket costs, leading to low historical accessibility (in a proactive manner), which is set to continue with the rising costs of living. Even psychological distress has strong medical links to illnesses, yet most people do not access the right care until they’ve reached a breaking point, have become burnt out, or feel like they are no longer able to cope. 


The Switch From Reactive To Proactive Can Be Life Changing 

Making proactive healthcare an affordable, accessible and feasible reality – giving New Zealanders the opportunity to detect, manage and educate themselves on health conditions at an earlier stage – could have a life-changing effect on many – yet there are very few avenues available at present to support this.

As a business, helping support their employee’s health and well-being remains important in terms of reducing absenteeism, presenteeism, and improving employee retention rates and overall employee satisfaction – a factor that’s becoming more and more important as unemployment rates continue to stay at record lows. 

While some companies are endeavouring to give employees greater work-life balance benefits such as flexible working arrangements or the introduction of a four-day work week, many require employees to be on-site for the full working week, opting instead to offer contributions towards a specific (albeit limiting) private health insurance plan, with a small monthly copayment from the employee.

The problem with most generic private health insurance plans offered to businesses is that they’re exactly that – generic, non-tailored, restricted with notable stand-down periods and exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and the inclusions are very much geared towards ‘reactive’ healthcare, focusing mainly on specialists with a 75% to 80% rebate common, meaning out of pocket costs are still incurred by the employee.


Proactive Health Access Made Possible With Digital Health Wallets And Employer Aid

Here at HealthNow, we understand the impact that this reactive health model is having on the health of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders and many more millions in the US. For many, when reactive care is needed, up to 39% may still avoid visiting their physicians due to the cost, with up to 25% even failing to collect medical prescriptions due to the copayment fees. 

As such, we have developed and invested heavily in several digital technologies that are positioned to change the game entirely when it comes to proactive health access. The first is the employer aid offering for businesses to move away from contributing to standard reactive health costs, and instead supporting their employees to take a proactive approach.

Employer aid payments are funds that are directed into your employee’s digital health wallet in place of paying funds to a private health insurance institution. These funds can then be used on any health service your employee needs and chooses – from prescriptions and products purchased from the pharmacy to dental work to counselling sessions. As long as the provider is registered with HealthNow, your employees have complete freedom to choose how to best support their health – both now and in the years to come.

Many businesses are opting for this model as opposed to contributing towards a private health insurance plan because of the known drawbacks such as restrictions, exclusions and long stand-down periods, little flexibility in the plans to account for personal factors, not being able to use your plan to support other family members (which often impacts our own health), and much more. 


Employer aid payments have several prominent benefits over traditional private health insurance, including:

  • The money deposited into your employee’s health wallet never ‘rolls over’ or disappears if they don’t spend it within a calendar year. 
  • Their health wallet can cover their family’s health expenses at their discretion, because we understand that the overall health of a person can be extensively connected to that of their family’s, with family illnesses and the associated time off work often causing notable stress and missed time off work
  • Digital health wallets are completely free for employers and employees
  • Employer aid funds have no exclusions, limitations, stand-down periods or the like
  • No paperwork or claim forms that make you ‘explain yourself’ to an insurance provider to be approved
  • Employees can make their funds go even further with HealthNow’s Buy Now Pay Later option


Make The Switch: Support Your Employee’s Proactively

HealthNow has made the switch from traditional private health insurance to employer aid easy, simple, and free for businesses. Book a demo, get started or learn more about employer aid here.


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