Fertility, menopause, maternity and gender confirmation benefits are often only available from health and wellbeing packages for the very largest corporations. As a specialist in supporting SMEs and start-ups, Towergate Health & Protection is now making this level of progressive care accessible to companies of all sizes.

Brett Hill, distribution director for Towergate Health & Protection, comments: “We recognise that smaller companies want and need to reach above and beyond traditional UK healthcare plans, so that they offer benefits that can help them to attract and retain high-level employees. Today’s multi-generational workforce is placing greater demands on private medical insurance (PMI), with employees requiring support for a wider range of matters, including fertility and maternity treatment, menopause care, mental health, and gender confirmation care.”

Family friendly

Family-friendly cover is a growing area of health and wellbeing benefits, with support for infertility, maternity and menopause increasingly in demand. Employers are more aware than ever that caring for the family as a whole and for conditions relating to family health helps to ensure that the employee is more holistically supported.

The need for specialist gender confirmation care is also growing, and those employers that offer such support will set themselves apart.

Time is of the essence

In a fast-moving working environment and with employees working in a greater variety of ways – from home, hot-desking, working abroad – it is important that staff have swift and easy access to a range of wellbeing services. This includes GP consultations – with convenient access to face-to-face or virtual appointments, to minimise the absence caused by difficulty in finding a suitable appointment or a lack of appointments in general. Fast access to diagnoses and treatment for both mental and physical health means a faster return to work. All of which is vital for SMEs and start-ups where employees can simply not be spared for time off work.

Chronic and existing conditions

Many employees find that their PMI is built to deal with acute conditions, enabling fast access to treatment. This leaves a problem, however, for those with chronic, ongoing conditions, or ones that are pre-existing and not covered by new insurance. Chronic conditions can cause major staffing issues for smaller businesses, where an employee’s work cannot easily be absorbed by others. Finding medical cover that will include help to monitor existing conditions is a major advantage.

International outlook

Traditional UK PMI cover may miss the mark in providing the support required by senior-level SME employees. Indeed, it is not unusual for purely UK-based companies to take out international private medical insurance (IPMI) plans for the richer benefits.

For those companies where employees also travel overseas for business, however, it is important that they are covered for any urgent treatment they may require. Standard travel insurance is not appropriate for medical treatment needed during business trips, and business travel insurance is not sufficient for those working overseas for extended periods. Employers should ensure that employees have a private medical plan which includes cover for business trips. This offers much more than standard travel insurance and will make sure employees are looked after in a wider set of circumstances.

Cigna Distinction

In response to the requirements of SMEs and start-ups, Towergate Health & Protection is now offering Cigna Distinction, a UK PMI plan from Cigna which goes far beyond the reach of traditional PMI and is designed specifically for smaller companies, primarily based in and around London, with two to 99 employees. Built in partnership between Cigna and HCA healthcare UK Hospitals, Cigna Distinction fills the gap in the UK market for high-end domestic benefits solutions.

Key benefits include:

  • GP consultations/diagnostics
  • Urgent care clinic consultations, blood tests and scans
  • Infertility and maternity treatment
  • Gender confirmation care
  • Menopause care
  • UK leading edge robotic procedures
  • Acute care including diagnostics
  • Mental health inpatient
  • Well-being services
  • Chronic condition monitoring
  • Care pathways for cancer diagnostics, MSK and emotional wellbeing
  • 90 days overseas cover for international business trips