What are the rules on the reimbursement of costs for dental care, new glasses or a scan? You can’t claim for these ‘ambulatory costs’ on your hospitalisation insurance, and your health insurance fund will only provide limited reimbursement. Because ambulatory costs can be high, 43% of Belgian employers now offer an ambulatory plan that covers these costs. In the latest episode of our video podcast Success Insured, insurance expert Bert Van den Broeck talks about the importance and benefits of this insurance for employers and employees.
Speed up reintegration with a suitable programme
According to the latest figures, our country has half a million people on sick leave. Work incapacity insurance with associated reintegration support is becoming increasingly common – and it’s effective, too. Up to seven out of ten incapacitated employees return to work after a reintegration programme, says Evelyne Lauwers, Expert Health Care at Vanbreda Risk & Benefits.
Long-term absence is often a difficult experience for employees, but it also has significant consequences for employers, given the considerable direct and indirect costs it entails. With growing interest being taken in well-being at work and employers under pressure from the current reintegration legislation to come up with a quick response, more and more companies are turning to the insurance market.
Into action after four or five weeks
Using a reintegration programme run by a specialist partner, employers can take action from the fourth or fifth week of absence. This short time frame is extremely important. Reintegration programmes combined with work incapacity insurance can reduce the average time off by three months, according to an analysis conducted by Vanbreda Risk & Benefits of the insurers that offer reintegration programmes through their work incapacity insurance. ‘In some cases, the employee can get back to work up to three times faster,’ says Evelyne Lauwers. ‘One party even stated that 72 percent resume work after six to eight months thanks to reintegration programmes.’
Work incapacity insurance with reintegration support
Employers can offer work incapacity insurance as a fringe benefit and thus provide their employees with a financial safety net that takes a weight off their minds. If this insurance is also accompanied by a reintegration programme, companies can significantly increase their employees’ deployment rate, with all the associated positive consequences. ‘In our role as a service provider, we’re increasingly being asked by companies for help with starting up a reintegration policy,’ says Evelyne Lauwers. ‘Over the past two to three years, there’s been a shift from theory to practice: employers mainly used to be seeking information about the programmes, but they now want to actually invest in them.’
No magic bullet
Some recent reforms have provided added impetus. For example, dismissal due to medical force majeure has been dropped as an end point of the legal reintegration process. Employers now bear more responsibility for reintegration. They are trying to minimise absenteeism by stepping up their prevention efforts. When an employee goes on sick leave, an appropriate reintegration programme is started.
Such a programme follows a fixed pattern, in which the independent external partner first assesses the interest and motivation of the person concerned through an intake interview, explains Evelyne Lauwers. ‘This means that there’s no question about each individual’s freedom of choice, or about the method of dialogue used to determine specific needs.’
A positive evaluation then leads to an exploratory phase with guidance discussions, followed by the crucial connecting phase. In the final step, the employee looks for a suitable solution together with the employer and the occupational health service. ‘The employee can simply return to his or her old job or get an adapted job at the same company. But retraining is also an option, in preparation for a new job, possibly with a different employer. This is because the right working context is indispensable for lasting reintegration,’ concludes Evelyne Lauwers.
Awareness of the importance of mental well-being is growing, both in society and in the workplace. As an employer, you have a key role to play in proactively supporting your employees’ mental health. Evelyne Lauwers, Health Care expert, explains how integrated well-being services empower your current and future human capital.
Vanbreda Risk & Benefits enters into a partnership with Doktr, the digital healthcare service provider. With an innovative and locally embedded range of services, they want to help Belgian companies provide easily accessible and quality care to their employees. The shared vision of hybrid care and cover for video consultations with general practitioners will strengthen Vanbreda Risk & Benefits’ already extensive healthcare offering.
Did you know that 36% of long-term absenteeism in the workplace is due to psychosocial causes such as burnout and depression? This alarming figure emphasises the growing importance of mental health support in the workplace.