AXA PPP healthcare

In sickness or in health? Employers can’t decide

Press Release   •   Jan 20, 2016 11:42 GMT

January 2016: Bosses don’t want employees coming to work unwell but are frustrated by working time lost to doctors’ appointments, according to new research by AXA PPP healthcare.*

Nearly a third (32 per cent) of bosses (owners, directors, senior and middle managers) say they’d prefer employees to take time off sick rather than come to work ill yet a similar proportion (29 per cent) say they’re frustrated by the working time lost when employees take time off for medical appointments – somewhat surprising since nearly half (49 per cent) of the bosses polled agree that having a quick diagnosis backed by information on how to get better would help improve their employees’ productivity.

When it comes to how employees handle their (own) health issues, a quarter admit to waiting for a week to see if they recover before seeking medical advice, while over a third (35 per cent) would delay seeking treatment due to work hours and pressures.

The survey findings also highlight that bosses can be pretty demanding when employees need to take time off for GP or hospital appointments, with a quarter saying they try to ask

the employee what’s wrong in order to find out whether their condition is serious enough to warrant taking time off. Twelve per cent say they would ensure that employees who attend medical appointments during working hours make up for the missed time. And nearly one in ten (8 per cent) ask employees to take half a day’s holiday to cover for the time they’ve taken for medical appointments.

Asked on their views on employees taking time off for sickness, only 28 per cent of bosses said they felt that sick employees should take however long is needed for their treatment and recuperation. On the other hand 17 per cent indicated that, although they were sympathetic to employees’ plight, they didn’t expect them to take more than three days off sick at a time.

It’s widely acknowledged that a healthy and productive workforce is good for business** and, to help achieve this, a quarter of the managers surveyed agreed that quick referrals to consultants and treatment would be beneficial. Moreover, nearly two fifths (38 per cent) accepted that providing all employees in their workforce with access to healthcare benefits would help reduce sickness absence and improve employee health.

Chris Horlick, Distribution Director at AXA PPP healthcare, said:

"Time away from work due to sickness absence and medical appointments can be frustrating – both for employees and for employers. Seven out of ten of the bosses we surveyed agreed that providing healthcare benefits across the workforce can help reduce sickness absence, improve health and aid employee retention yet, in our experience, employers tend to provide medical insurance to senior managers only. But help is at hand through AccessHEALTH – AXA PPP healthcare’s new healthcare plan for the wider workforce – and at a fraction of the cost of traditional medical insurance."

AccessHEALTH*** is designed to address key employee health issues such as mental health, musculoskeletal conditions and poor lifestyle related risks by providing members with access to private GPs, physiotherapists, counsellors, nurses and pharmacists.


*Online poll of 1000 managers (owner, director, C-suite, senior and middle management) of larger sized employers (250+ employees) conducted November 2015 by Atomik Research.

**Dame Carol Black (2008). Working for a healthier tomorrow: Dame Carol Black's Review of the health of Britain's working age population:

***AccessHEALTH is a new, low cost health insurance plan from AXA PPP healthcare. It focuses on early intervention and support and, in turn, helps employers tackle key health risks to productivity in their business such as musculoskeletal conditions and mental ill health. Designed for schemes of 100+ employees and available from 01 January 2016, AccessHEALTH has:

  • NO exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions
  • NO excess to pay
  • NO ‘qualifying period’ to use the benefits.

AccessHEALTH comes with two cover level options – Core and Plus. Core level includes:

  • Online private GP appointments from AXA PPP healthcare’s Doctor@Hand service, delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere (up to three consultations per membership year)
  • Mental health counselling – telephone support, with five face-to-face counselling sessions where clinically appropriate
  • Musculoskeletal – over-the-phone guidance plus ten physiotherapy, chiropractic or osteopathy sessions (per membership year)
  • 24/7 telephone access to AXA PPP’s dedicated team of nurses, midwives and pharmacists for support with any medical matter or concern
  • Health Gateway – the proactive health portal that provides an intelligent personalised approach to health risk management.

In addition to these features, Plus level covers:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – 12 sessions upon GP referral (per membership year)
  • Consultations – up to three specialist consultations (per membership year)
  • Diagnostics – full refund for specialist-referred in and day-patient tests, scans and surgery to establish a diagnosis.

About AXA PPP healthcare

AXA PPP healthcare has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides medical insurance cover and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its specialist Health Services division.  

About AXA

The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 157,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 59 countries. In 2014, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 92.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.1 billion. AXA had Euro 1,277 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2014. In 2014 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 6th consecutive year.

In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Direct and Partnerships, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 10,500 staff in the UK.

The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.

The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.

It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.