Health Shield Elements
Elements is a company-paid health cash plan aimed at the SME sector. The plan is available in two versions – Elements and Elements Plus – each available in four levels, and with varying maximum annual benefits.
Elements Plus provides the same benefits, but adds an employee assistance programme and costs an extra 15p a week (for all levels). Children’s benefits are generally around half the adult benefit, except for specialist consultations, where they are the same. Plans also include special rates for fitness benefit and online health risk assessments, plus a 24/7 helpline and GP consultations.
The plan costs £1.35 a week for Level 1, £2.60 for Level 2, £4.10 for Level 3 and £5.60 a week for Level 4. Dependent children under 18 are included free (with the annual benefit levels shared between them) but adding a spouse/partner takes the premium to slightly more than double the single person cost. The Health & Wellbeing benefit covers 19 alternative therapies. Cover is worldwide and employees can top-up by paying to move to a higher level of cover if they wish.
Crewe-based Health Shield started in 1877 to provide health services for people in the railway industry. Today, it remains a non-profit making friendly society but its products are aimed at all individuals and businesses.
Telephone: See website for most appropriate contact numbers.
What They Say
Executive director of sales and marketing, Philip Wood, said: “We have carefully developed Elements and Elements Plus to meet the needs of people, whatever the shape and size of their business. In a difficult economic climate, we are confident this will provide an invaluable and affordable option for those companies looking to introduce a health cash plan that covers the cost of everyday healthcare.”
What We Say
Premiums are slightly higher than for the similar Essentials plans, but benefits are raised too, again with the option of adding an EAP (through Elements Plus). One key change is that the lowest priced cover is now above £1 a week. The £1 a week level might have been attractive from a marketing point of view, but too many businesses probably chose that level, which in turn probably did some damage to the health cash plan industry as it was simply too low.
In any event, Elements offers not just good value but also a good range of benefits, with the attraction that most are at a 100% reimbursement level.
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