What is health screening?
Corporate health screening is a range of assessments that can help identify health risks. This can help to safeguard employees’ health by identifying potential health issues that may benefit from early intervention.
Where can employers get more information?
Information on screening and tests that are recommended for employees at different ages can be found on the NHS website at: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Screening/Pages/screening.aspx.
Who are the main providers?
Axa PPP Healthcare, Benenden, Blossoms Healthcare, Bluecrest Health Screening, BMI Healthcare, Bupa, Business and Health Consultancy, Cigna, Co-Health, Corazon Health, CS Healthcare, Healthy Performance, Health Screen UK, Health Shield, iHealth, Lifescan, Medicash, Medichecks, New Leaf Health, Nuffield Health, Prescan, Preventicum, Randox Health, Relaxa, Screenetics, ToHealth, VitalityHealth UK, Wellbeing People, Westfield Health.
Health screening comprises a range of assessments and tests to help identify health risks at an early stage. Regular screening can help to keep a workforce fit and healthy by allowing employers and employees to take steps to reduce any health problems that are identified early on. And the cost of getting it wrong can be huge. A survey by industry body Group Risk Development (Grid), published in May 2016, revealed that the UK group risk industry paid out a total of £1.4bn-worth of health-related claims in 2015. The study also found that a total of 24,603 claims were made in 2015. Cancer, heart disease and mental illness were the main causes of claims for income protection products.
Identifying health risks or issues can enable employees to seek help at an early stage. Early intervention will bring benefits to a business, because a healthy workforce will result in improved productivity and employee engagement, while also helping to reduce private medical insurance claims and minimise staff absences.
Health screening is also aimed at reducing the risk of employees developing conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.
Screenings typically include measuring blood pressure, height, weight and body fat levels, as well as lung function, cholesterol, diabetes and metabolic rate testing. More detailed tests will take full blood samples, which are then sent to a lab, and can include around 35 tests, such as kidney function and liver function.
The screenings can take place either on site in the workplace, whereby a provider will bring mobile equipment, or at the provider’s premises, which may be part of a network of clinics or hospitals.
Although the results of a health screening are confidential, general anonymised feedback can enable employers to shape health initiatives. For example, if health screening reveals that a high percentage of employees are overweight and have poor diets, an employer could help turn this around by introducing a healthy-eating campaign.
The cost of health screening depends on how comprehensive it is. Some providers offer assessments starting at as little as £25 per employee, but these tend to cover only basic checks, such as height and weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
A comprehensive assessment, which includes more in-depth and tailored tests, such as a prostate check for men over 50 and a cervical smear and breast examination for women, can cost between £200 and £500. And top-of-the-range health screenings, such as those often provided to executives, can cost £600 upwards.
Health screening also has tax advantages. If employees receive no more than one screening a year, it is not classed as a benefit in kind and there is no tax or national insurance liability.
Advancements in technology have seen more providers linking an online assessment tool with the on-site health check. The online assessment will be completed prior to the health check, meaning that the provider will already have the employee’s lifestyle data, so will have more time during the on-site check to discuss issues in greater detail.
- 28% of employers offer health screening to all employees (Source: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and SimplyHealth, October 2015)
- 53% of employers cite acute medical conditions (for example, stroke, heart attack and cancer) as one of the top five causes of long-term absence for manual workers, and 51% for non-manual workers (Source: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and SimplyHealth, October 2015)
- 69% of claims on group critical illness insurance in 2015 were due to cancer (Source: Group Risk Development (Grid), May 2016)