A healthy way to attract and retain young stars

by the Southern Cross Team
Monday , 31 August 2020 - 3-4 minute read
Colleagues laughing during an office meeting

Can health insurance help you engage the best young talent? The short answer is yes, with the right approach.

Why young workers matter

In New Zealand, those under 30 now make up 40 percent of the workforce1. They’re also among the least engaged in the workforce, with higher than average turn-over than other age groups2.

Globally, almost half of young employees say they would quit their current job in the next two years if they had the choice3. This can present a problem for employers.

Offering a range of benefits can help provide an edge in an organisation’s recruitment strategy. Working for a business that has a clear focus on workplace wellness can be attractive to this generation which is engaged with their health and wellbeing. Consequently, the value of employer-funded health insurance should not be overlooked.

Do young employees need health insurance?

While younger employees are less likely to get sick, they can still benefit significantly from having health insurance.

For the year ended 30 June 2019, Southern Cross Health Society paid 73 percent of all health insurance claims in New Zealand - $113 million was paid out in claims to those under 30.

For women under 30, the most common claims were:

  • Skin lesion excision ($300 to $2,400)
  • Specialist consultation ($100 to $300)
  • Colonoscopy ($1,800 to $3,100)
  • Nasendoscopy ($100 to $200)
  • Endometriosis surgery ($9,800 to $19,700)

For men under 30, the most common claims were:

  • Nasendoscopy ($100 to $200)
  • Specialist consultation ($100 to $300)
  • Phototherapy ($100)
  • Skin lesion excision ($300 to $2,400)
  • Colonoscopy ($1,800 to $3,100)

Source: Southern Cross Your Health First.

Younger workers also have concerns about their long-term health and wellbeing with 57 percent concerned about experiencing or developing an illness/disease in the future4.

Getting health insurance while they’re young can cost less with lower premiums, and it often means they’re covered before they develop any pre-existing conditions.

Do young workers value subsidised health insurance

Health insurance is the benefit most valued by Kiwi employees5.

In the Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report 2020, 74 percent of respondents aged 18-29 said they were concerned about having access to good, affordable healthcare. Almost half of this age group also said cost prevents them from seeking medical treatment from a professional if they are unwell6.

By fully or partly paying for their health insurance, employers are sending a clear message to their young employees: ‘You’re important, and your wellbeing matters to us’. And it’s a message that can resonate strongly.

In a survey of Kiwi workers7, among those under 30 who didn’t have employer subsidised health insurance, 23 percent were considering changing jobs in the next 12 months. This compared to just 15 percent among those who did have cover paid for.

It’s also worth considering how an organisation values and supports the mental wellbeing of its people. Many employees today are working at an ever-increasing pace, technology means people are available 24/7, the lines between work and personal time are becoming blurred as more people than ever are working from home and many struggle to achieve a positive work-life balance.

Today 43 percent of workers under 30 regularly feel anxious and stressed, and 80 percent are concerned about access to mental health services. On top of that, 19 percent report they have trouble sleeping because of work pressures and long hours8. Research shows that a lack of sleep has a negative compounding effect on overall health, mental wellbeing and performance9.

What kind of health insurance is most attractive?

Working for a business that offers subsidised health insurance can be beneficial to employee engagement, but there are additional considerations which can help to make it an even more attractive proposition, such as:

Cover for day-to-day care

Providing cover for everyday healthcare is one way to make your employee benefit even more popular. In the year ended 30 June 2019, Southern Cross paid $68.3 million in claims for GP visits, dental treatment, optometry, prescriptions and physiotherapy10.

Check out Stevie's story

Cover for pre-existing conditions

Cover for pre-existing conditions is not available under most health insurance policies but Southern Cross Health Society offers it as a benefit under many of its subsidised work schemes (terms and conditions apply).

Easy to use

By far the easiest way to claim is through a healthcare provider who submits the claim to Southern Cross and we pay them directly either because they’re a Southern Cross Affiliated Provider or Easy-claim partner. Best of all, the member doesn’t have to wait to be reimbursed. Of course, members can always make a claim online via My Southern Cross.

A better digital experience

In an always-on world, a great digital experience always makes a difference. With the My Southern Cross app, members can do everything from checking their benefit balances to claiming. In 2018/19, 95 percent of all Southern Cross claims were made via a digital channel11.

Support overall wellbeing

Almost half of Kiwis under 30 are unhappy12 with their overall wellbeing and showing support here counts. Southern Cross’ wellness content hub offers a wealth of free wellbeing resources, many prepared by leading experts, that can be tapped into by businesses to help support its people.

Want to find out how employer-funded health insurance can help you attract and retain young talent? Get in touch with your account manager or your adviser and request a call back today.


  1. http://nzdotstat.stats.govt.nz/wbos/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLECODE8453#
  2. (n.d.). Aon Hewitt Announces the Best Employers - Singapore 2015 Awards. Retrieved from https://aon.mediaroom.com/Aon-Hewitt-Announces-the-Best-Employers-Singapore-2015-Awards
  3. The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, 2019
  4. Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report 2020
  5. https://www.seek.co.nz/career-advice/the-most-wanted-work-perks-in-new-zealand
  6. Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report 2020
  7. Employer benefits of health insurance, Kantar TNS, 2019
  8. Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report 2020
  9. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body#Food-Fix:-Foods-for-Better-Sleep
  10. Southern Cross Medical Society Annual Report, 2019
  11. Southern Cross Medical Society Annual Report, 2019
  12. Employer benefits of health insurance, Kantar TNS, 2019

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