Many individuals have failed to keep up with routine eye appointments during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data from one healthcare cash plan provider. It is a reality that could risk deteriorating eyesight among employees in the future, potentially leading to more significant interventions being required.
Eyecare claims on Health Shield healthcare cash plans, including appointments, glasses and lenses, fell by 28% in 2020, compared to the previous year. This suggests that many employees simply haven’t been keeping up with routine eye examinations during the pandemic.
Health Shield also warned that while the number of eyecare claims was picking up this year, there was a risk that eye tests for homeworkers was still on the back burner for many.
Jennie Doyle, head of marketing at Health Shield, said: “Working from home has inevitably led to increased time in front of a screen for so many people over the last year, and as this becomes a norm for many going forward, this cannot be dismissed as a short-term issue anymore.”
Under health and safety legislation in the UK, employers are obligated to pay for an eye test for their employees if they use a screen for more than an hour a day as part of their jobs.
Furthermore, the Health & Safety Executive states that employers have a legal duty to protect employees from harm by completing risk assessments and acting on the findings. For remote workers, these risks include lone working without supervision, working with display screen equipment (DSE), stress and mental health. But are such risk assessments being carried out?
While most medical treatment provided by the NHS is free at the point of delivery, other routine healthcare, such as that provided by opticians, dentists, physiotherapists and osteopaths, often requires the patient to pay the provider directly. If individuals are having regular appointments, these costs can add up.
A healthcare cash plan is designed to help ease the impact of such costs by enabling the individual to claim all or a proportion of the total back. Healthcare cash plans are extremely affordable, easily accessible and can pay for themselves several times over in a single policy year.
[Related reading: Eyesight Charity Warns About Risks Of Increased Screen Time During Lockdown]
With many more employees working from home it’s very important to ensure they are getting the support they need from their employers. A healthcare cash plan is an inexpensive way of offering health benefits to employees. What better way to ensure your staff have regular eye health check ups than providing them with the tools to allow them to do this that also offers other valuable benefits.
For more information on healthcare cash plans and other support for your employees contact Premier Choice Healthcare on 0800 970 1618 or at firstname.lastname@example.org