April Fool’s day for some, but 1 April 2010 will mean something different to many Australians, when health insurance premiums go up and the annual debate on how much deeper our pockets need to be heats up. However, there is a way for businesses to save their employees money on health insurance – and gain valuable employee engagement on the way.

In this time of skills shortage when people can pick and choose where they work easily, employee engagement has become the key to loyalty and staff longevity. Businesses are finding if they don’t reward and engage with their staff, they can have trouble keeping them. And the rewards don’t necessarily mean more money, or have to be job-related.

Many companies can actually save their employees – and their business – money by creating a group health insurance program. They can negotiate better corporate health insurance plans for their employees, simply by using their staff numbers, and a willingness to connect. The National Health Act enables health funds to provide a discount of up to 12 per cent.

Typically, businesses with more than 300 employees can negotiate favourable insurance terms through the waiver of waiting periods, discounts, better products or better service. This number comes down even further if companies can contribute to hospital excess.

Corporate health insurance is a win-win for all concerned, because the business has happier and healthier employees, staff feel valued, more engaged and save money, and all this has a flow-on effect to the employee’s family. It is a simple way of providing an added benefit to the staff, which leads to better engagement, while adding value to the company and showing it is an employer that takes work/life balance seriously. It’s about creating moments of truth.

Negotiations for a corporate health care program can not only net better terms, but also secure access to corporate-style products and a host of other services such as company flu vaccinations, executive health checks, stress management and weight loss programs.