Another way of improving the level of take-up in voluntary cash plan schemes is if the employer takes up the product themselves. The employer will tend to have more enthusiasm for the product and will therefore help promote it. It can also be helpful if the company makes a contribution to the scheme.
“We are increasingly seeing, and would like to see more of, cash plans with an element of contribution made by the employer,” says Simplyhealth’s Briggs. “If they contribute it can be very effective because the employees will recognise this and be warmed up to the concept. Intermediaries should try to see if they can get a commitment from the employer to make a contribution. If the employer has paid part there is a higher chance that employees will dip into their pockets and pay for an upgrade.”
Some intermediaries prefer to install a company-paid cash plan and have the option of voluntary contributions in addition. Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at employee benefits consultancy Origen, says this engages the employees at outset because they have a benefit they can use.
“It can also be used to dovetail with private medical insurance excess and offset other costs – for instance Display Screen Equipment regulations on eye care – to create a viable business case for the employer,” he says.
The take-up of voluntary cash plans needs improving but it is only if the provider, broker and employer spend time promoting the scheme that employees will be persuaded of its value.