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Government should provide tax breaks for medical insurance

The Government is being urged to provide tax breaks to employers offering private medical insurance as a benefit.

Healthcare provider Simplyhealth says that Dame Carol Black and David Frost's review into sickness absence, released in November strongly recommended that the Government provides tax relief for lower earners to help speed employee return to work.

But Simplyhealth believes that all companies should be given tax breaks in order to provide its entire staff with medical insurance and lessen the burden on the NHS. And research conducted by the Simplyhealth shows that 55 per cent of decision makers with HR responsibilities agree.

Commenting, Howard Hughes, spokesperson for Simplyhealth said: "Our research shows that 40% of organisations currently offer employees private medical insurance, however, 46% of these businesses, only provide it as a benefit to senior or middle management.

"According to the independent review into sickness absence, lower earners are at greater risk of long term absence. With the NHS struggling to cope with restricted funding and with seemingly further cuts on the horizon, there is a real need for the Government to encourage employers to take greater responsibility for employee health and wellbeing. Tax relief on healthcare benefits such as private medical insurance is an effective way to help reduce the burden on the NHS and to help organisations to better manage sickness absence.

"Our findings confirm that there is appetite for a new approach to employee health and wellbeing. 52% of respondents whose businesses only offer private medical insurance to some employees stated that they would be more likely to provide a private medical insurance benefit to all employees if organisations received a tax break for those employees who are standard rate tax payers."