How smart healthcare cover can help make you an employer of choice.
They’re young, they’re healthy and they know it. But do new junior recruits know how to unlock that undeniable layer of value which only exceptional healthcare cover can provide? It’s an advantage that knowledgeable employers can offer, and one that forms an important part of the talent acquisition strategy.
As new entrants to the workplace are starting to take on their own medical expenses, many may receive an unwelcome surprise when they discover that the price of medical scheme cover does not always equate to value they can actually apply to their daily lives.
I recently heard about a young South African who came home from a working-holiday abroad and had a small accident at home involving his own parked vehicle. On first impressions, it doesn’t sound like anything that this strong and responsible young adult couldn’t cope with, and perhaps that was his mindset when he delayed taking out healthcare cover in the first place. Unfortunately, this small accident has ended up costing him upwards of R200k in medical bills, and counting.
This is just the type of scenario that we all hope does not happen to us, but which we must plan for nevertheless. However, medical aid can and should be able to offer much more than this essential cover, but the cost must speak to tangible value.
A very different outlook
Recent findings from a series of consumer surveys and interviews conducted by McKinsey in the United States for example, showed that Gen Z, those born in the mid to late 90s, reported a significantly more negative outlook than other generations, with a lower sense of emotional and social wellbeing. This would come as no surprise in a country like ours with a youth unemployment rate of 61% in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Stats SA, and a badly strained economy. Price hikes on basic essentials such as food have contributed to a 7% increase in annual consumer inflation in February in South Africa – not a great financial start to the year for anyone, let alone those starting out.
Young people who are finding employment are having to fight harder to secure it, meaning that this generation is entering the economy under more competitive and pressurized circumstances, and with a different mindset where wellbeing is high on the list but so is the matter of cost.
In this environment, the frills that were once so sought after are in many cases a shadow of what mattered before – what is now needed is a focus on affordability alongside healthcare benefits that provides reliable cover while supporting a holistic view of wellness.
Indeed, the cookie-cutter hospital plan that does the job of simply ticking the box of ‘essential’ healthcare cover is retiring, and for good reason. Your younger employees may be more budget conscious, but they also demand fair value for their healthcare rand and expect more than the bare minimum – and they are right to do so.
Substance and transparency supporting holistic wellness
Trusting a medical scheme to always be there in your employees’ time of need is unquestionably part of the picture – the comfort of partnering with a reliable and enduring medical scheme will never go out of fashion. There is also much to be said for schemes that have the capacity to provide more individual attention and where members do not get lost in the crowd.
In addition to this, offering a rich range of wellness and preventative benefits paid entirely from the scheme’s risk pool helps employees to understand the often-confusing structure of their medical scheme option, making it clear that these benefits are there to support them in living a more well-balanced life without putting them out of pocket. This ultimately provides them with far greater value by keeping all other benefits such as day-to-day and savings benefits untouched.
When it comes to presenting your people with wellness benefits a great deal can be said for schemes that provide several tailored fitness prescription programmes offered in partnership with registered biokineticists to assist employees in finding the physical activities that work best for their body and in the facility or other environment that they prefer.
Likewise, a nutrition programme offered under the advice of a dietitian would be one of the most sought-after benefits money could buy, providing individuals with the personalised attention they deserve when it comes to achieving their optimum nutritional balance.
Access to these benefits when they are paid entirely from risk can be a game changer for your team, particularly when they also extend to young families with specialised pregnancy fitness and nutrition programmes as well as kids’ fitness and nutrition benefits, among a host of other outstanding children’s offerings.
Such benefits are key to attracting younger talent – in fact, another McKinsey study found that in South Africa, just 21% of consumers were optimistic about the economy nevertheless, two thirds of South Africans interviewed value brands that offer healthier choices when it comes to food with 34% of Millennials wanting diets rich in minerals and vitamins. This makes a strong argument for the medical scheme that has wellness benefits already included as part of an affordable option selection without members having to sign up for additional loyalty programmes or dip into their savings.
As for mental health needs, these have emerged as a clear concern among Gen Z and Millennial consumers following the impacts of the pandemic, which may be on its way out but has nonetheless raised some important conversations around the role of mental health benefits.
Your employees across the board, and especially those who are younger, will greatly appreciate belonging to a medical scheme that provides them with round the clock access to a professional helpline with the option to be referred for face to face counselling, when required.
Furthermore, a scheme that has partnered with a leading-edge digital consulting platform has found additional avenues to touch the lives of younger members by making healthcare quicker and more convenient to access in an era where digital capabilities are increasingly expected.
Young workforce entrants are presenting new challenges for employers across all industries, but by partnering with a forward thinking medical scheme for exceptional staff health benefits you are already well on the way to broadening the employment horizons of your business. After all, isn’t that fresh new perspective precisely what you are looking for?
Josua Joubert is the chief executive and principal officer of CompCare Medical Scheme.