Steve Hook, Sales & Marketing Director believes that there are a number of actions that will influence the costs of healthcare trusts and PMI next year - and beyond. In particular, he believes that the continued spectre of redundancy could create a much less obvious-to-spot consequence which could have much greater implications for employers and healthcare trusts and PMI operators.
"Of course, the big challenge next year is seeing how the fall-out from the recession has impacted on the costs of healthcare trusts and PMI" explained Steve Hook. "The obvious downturn in the economy has knock-on effects on businesses willing to continue to fund these sorts of staff benefits which may well have a longer term effect on overall premiums and costs. But there is another issue which is much harder to predict - or manage.
"As the spectre of redundancy continues in every region of the country - or any business sector for that matter - those employed in high risk sectors think about their own future security and wellbeing. And if there's a risk that they might lose their job in the near future, there must surely be the inclination to make the most of any employee benefits available before that happens.
"It's not fraud - it's opportunistic. But it can have quite a drastic impact on a Healthcare Trust or PMI scheme's claims performance, especially for the smaller schemes. Whilst the average cost per claim may not increase significantly, the incidence rate can suddenly rise over a period of time as those worried that their job may be at risk or at the very least lose some benefits, decide to make a claim for treatment they might otherwise have put off."
"You could probably almost draw a map of where there have been the heaviest job losses to date - by industry and region - and spot the increases in costs in parallel.
"What's the answer? Very close monitoring of the performance of a scheme and careful and sensitive management of claims."