General trends in Belgium show that ambulatory care and dental care insurance are amongst the top three most interesting fringe benefits. They score higher than additional vacation days and a company car. Trees Dierickx, General Manager Account Management Employee Benefits at Vanbreda: “Today, 1 in 7 Belgians already have ambulatory care insurance and 1 in 5 have dental care insurance. The striking fact is that they usually arrange this type of insurance privately rather than via their employer. We have noted in recent years that employers are increasingly inclined to offer such supplemental health insurance collectively, because, being a caring employer, they are concerned about the well-being of their employees or because they use this benefit as an additional incentive in the war for talent.”
In Belgium, most employers offer hospitalisation insurance. This important financial safety net in the event of hospitalisation is now well established in this country and is often included in an organization’s standard fringe benefits package. Studies show that, on average, only 1 in 10 employees actually needs to take advantage of such insurance. A positive observation, but for many this insurance does not actually make a substantial difference in everyday life and this is where a great opportunity arises for you as an employer.
With ambulatory healthcare insurance, you will ensure that your employees’ and their family members’ everyday medical costs are covered. Most cases involve doctor and pharmacy fees, but dental or eye care costs are also eligible.
Trees Dierickx: “These costs typically represent a significant share of the family budget. By taking on the financial burden as an employer, your employees can spend their wages on other things. As the cost of providing for our livelihood continues to rise, we believe that the value assigned to this healthcare budget will continue to increase. We would even venture to say that this insurance is more interesting from a tax point of view than a net pay increase for the employee, because it is such a tangible benefit and results in immediate savings.”
Despite the many benefits for your employees and their families, supplementary insurance represents an additional investment in your employees for you as an employer. However, this need not be a stumbling block in the difficult economic climate we currently find ourselves in. In fact, this insurance can be modular. However, we do recommend that you consider the specific guarantees and intervention amounts you want to offer according to your budgetary possibilities.
Trees Dierickx: “Do you want to provide your employees and their families with a comprehensive care package? If so, you could opt to reimburse all ambulatory medical expenses including dental and eye care. However, you could also opt for more limited cover or, for example, only insure dental care. Moreover, you can determine the maximum amount the insurance will cover, which exemptions apply and even the percentage of reimbursement. Typically, 80% of ambulatory medical expenses are reimbursed, but by reducing this percentage, you can keep insurance premiums under control.”
The flexibility offered by this type of insurance goes even further. You can opt at the outset to only insure a specific employee category or ask your employees to pay (part of) the insurance premiums. Remember that you can amend your plan or expand its cover to include a larger population at any time.