VitalityHealth is broadening access to its wellbeing programme among small and medium sized business.
Uninsured members of staff will get access to range of preventative health benefits — designed to encourage employees to live healthier lives — at no additional charge for the corporate client.
This new initiative is called Essentials. These benefits include access to virtual GP consultations, a free health review an discounted annual health checks-up, discounts on gym membership at Virgin Active and Nuffield Health, discounts on fitness trackers and trainers, as well as access to a range of mindfulness and wellbeing apps.
VitalityHealth’s clinical operations director Dr Ali Hasan says this was the first time an insurer had extended coverage like this at no extra charge to customers.
He says: “This Essentials programme helps employees understand their health and wellbeing through review and assessment and by calculating their ‘Vitality age’ – an easy way to help people understand more about their overall health.”
He says this calculator provides a risk-based age relative to a variety of health factors. The algorithm takes into account details such as the individual’s weight, the amount and intensity of exercise, cholesterol, eating habits, levels of happiness and alcohol consumption. By understanding this, employees can make small changes to their diet, lifestyle and exercise and take control of our health and wellbeing.
Dr Hasan adds: “This programme encourages employees to improve their health, through discounts on smoking cessation programmes and weight loss clubs.
“It also incentivises people to maintain and improve fitness levels, though reward and ‘gamification’ schemes, whereby people earn points by getting active, eating well and getting their health checked regularly.”
He says: “We are proud to extend this programme. It underlines our commitment to help companies support their employees’ physical and mental health and wellbeing.”
Dr Hasan says this expansion to this VitalityHealth product is primarily focused on the SME market. He says the insurer is aware that due to the size of these businesses some are unable to offer full PMI cover to all employees.
SMEs will need to have at least 10 or more employees covered by PMI to qualify.
At the smaller end of the market, companies will then be able to offer this Vitality Essentials programme to up two additional members of staff for every insurer policyholders, depending on the percentage of employees who are insured. Larger SMEs will be able to offer this additional cover on a one-for-one basis.
Dr Hasan says there is growing body of evidence that wellbeing programmes like this can improve employee health and lead to better productivity for companies.
The latest published data from VitalityHealth shows that employees who engage with the Vitality Programme have better long-term health outcomes. In total 35 per cent of members who were smokers quit, 43 per cent were insufficiently active and became more active, 40 per cent had poor diets and improved their nutrition.
The company also is involved in research into Britain’s Healthiest Workplace. This extensive study, which is designed to highlight good and improving practices, found that healthy organisations are 25 days a year more productive per employee than unhealthy organisations.
Dr Hasan adds that in recent years there has been an increased focus on health and wellbeing in the workplace.
“We are starting to see several factors come together to help drive positive change. On a societal basis there is a broad recognition from individuals that they want to live productive, happy and healthy lives.
“From a corporate point of view there is an acknowledgement that people are their best asset. Wellbeing programmes like this are increasingly seen as an important tool to help recruit and retain talent, as well as delivering a welcoming and productive working culture.
“Finally there is an increasing body of evidence that shows that programmes like this can help engage employees and ensure companies get the best out of the people who work for them.”