Can an employer stop providing group risk insured benefits such as life assurance or private medical cover to employees when they reach a certain age?

Yes, para.14 of sch.9 to the Equality Act 2010 provides an exception to the age discrimination provisions of the Act to allow employers to stop providing access to group risk insured benefits, such as income protection, life assurance, private medical cover and permanent health insurance, to employees when they reach age 65. This age restriction will rise in accordance with any increase to the state pension age from age 65. Other benefits are not subject to this exemption and should be offered to all employees regardless of age (subject to any other qualifying requirements).

This exception is in place because the Government recognised that there was a risk that employers would withdraw these benefits after the removal of the default retirement age because of the increased cost involved in providing them to older employees.