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Employee Insurance: Choose an Integrated Health Benefits Plan to Get the Right Returns

Team AckoSep 7, 2021

Taking the right call regarding a Group Medical Cover (GMC) for employees can be a challenge. GMC is not a straightforward investment, where performance can be measured in terms of direct returns. This complexity makes it difficult to justify the costs incurred to offer and implement a GMC in the organisation. But there’s a solution for this.  

A justification for the costs incurred on an employee-centric health insurance policy can be made if you choose a policy and an insurer that offers value for money. An integrated health benefits plan that puts your employee’s at the forefront and focuses on maximising good health outcomes can help you maximise Return on Investment (ROI) in the long haul.

Integrated Health Benefits Plan to Get the Right Returns

Integrated approach

In 2020, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) circular mandated that employers insure their employees while resuming operations after the initial lockdown. It is not just about the mandate, though. A thought-through GMC can be an excellent investment, provided it is beneficial to the employees. As per a 2018 survey conducted by ASSOCHAM, 62% (of 48% of the employees covered under a wellness initiative) believed that the wellness programmes in their organisation needed improvement.

Often, employers might end up choosing a bare minimum insurance policy that employees rarely appreciate. This can be due to a lack of awareness or the high premium associated with an effective plan. However, you can now go beyond the traditional concept of insurance and integrate it with other wellness benefits to ensure a rewarding experience.

As an employer, you can demonstrate compassion and consideration towards your employees by providing a GMC that goes beyond insurance and takes care of overall wellness. Eventually, such an approach can result in fostering loyalty and trust.

Offering a comprehensive, integrated benefits programme is not just a localised phenomenon anymore. According to Aon’s 2020 study, employers worldwide offered the following types of wellness programmes. 

  • Detection: These included physical check-ups, health screenings, etc. Approximately 90% of employers (from the study) provided these programmes.

  • Education: Around 81% of employers had instituted programmes on communicating the importance of wellness. This was done through kits, web materials and assistance services.

  • Wellness interventions: In total, 79% of employers promoted a healthier lifestyle owing to wellness interventions related to healthy eating, reducing heart disease risks, etc.

  • Advanced assessment: This involved advanced check-ups to detect specific health issues. Nearly 72% of employers globally had launched such initiatives.

  • Coaching and guidance: Approximately 60% of employers ensured the availability of health specialist consultation, incentive programmes, etc., for their employees.

Benefits of an integrated approach

Listed below are some of the significant advantages of adopting an all-inclusive approach regarding employee health insurance.

  1. Tackle absenteeism

    Embracing preventive measures and a healthy lifestyle promoted by the GMC can reduce absenteeism. As per ASSOCHAM, for every rupee spent on employee wellbeing, employers get back Rs. 132.33 as saving on the cost of absenteeism. 

  2. Significant improvement in productivity and loyalty

    Employees that are fit and healthy are likely to be more productive. As per a Gympass whitepaper, a sense of wellbeing among employees produced 31% higher productivity and 59% greater loyalty.

  3. A positive brand image

    According to an America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) survey, 77% of the employees said they started viewing their employers more positively after becoming aware of the organisation's steps for their wellbeing.

To reap the above-mentioned benefits, you must ensure the following.

  • Continuous support from leadership.

  • Data-driven decision-making by focusing on measurement, reporting and analytics.

  • Well-planned implementation for accountability.

How to get the right returns

Whether your organisation has 100 or 1,000 employees, it is important to get the right returns on the amount invested into a GMC. Here are some initiatives that you must undertake to ensure you get the right returns for your investment.

  1. Increase awareness

    Employers should not overestimate their employees’ understanding of the organisation’s wellness programmes. This can lead to underutilisation of the benefits. Also, inadequate awareness in this regard can cause the employees to undervalue the employers’ contribution. Thus, you must educate the employees about the benefits via emailers, webinars, one-on-one sessions, etc. Communicating specific programmes and initiatives effectively can go a long way in improving employee perception of the organisation. You can simplify the message using conversational language rather than jargon while communicating the benefits to amplify impact.

  2. Ensure preventive healthcare

    Preventive healthcare initiatives are gaining popularity as more and more employers are becoming mindful of the direct impact of employee health and wellness on the company's performance. Given the average young age of the Indian workforce, a significant proportion of employees develop lifestyle disorders and other detrimental health conditions during their employment. Offering a preventive healthcare and wellness plan could help prevent various chronic illnesses among employees. This would boost the company's bottom line — if employees claim less in the current year, employers might get a discount on the premium in the next year. Also, COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of telehealth, which can also be leveraged to ensure timely and professional health consultations to prevent severe health hazards.

  3. Customised health plans

    It is not easy to factor in every need for every employee. However, as the wellness champion of the organisation, you need a GMC plan that can be customised for different employee segments. The problem with following a standardised approach to healthcare benefits is that it can lead to a need-offering mismatch. There can be a set of employees who are offered a particular benefit but don’t want it, while there can be some benefits that they might want but are not available to them. It is, therefore, important that both employees and employers have customisation options at their disposal.

  4. Reduce admin costs

    Managing healthcare plans can be a nightmare! Usually, a lot of time and effort goes into administering the wellness programmes. Simply ensuring that everything is up and running can be taxing. These efforts and overheads can result in a significant uptick in the organisation’s overall healthcare costs. An insurer-offered solution in the form of a mobile application that facilitates easy self-serve enrolment and customisation can prove to be immensely helpful in streamlining admin-related tasks, ultimately reducing healthcare costs. The claim process also must be seamless and straightforward. In an ideal scenario, the claim process should be digitised and paperless. It would be advantageous if the claim applications are trackable through an app or a dashboard. Such measures can reduce the burden on the in-house admin team and prove cost-effective.

  5. Flexibility in making payments

    While the healthcare payments are primarily predetermined, the business's overall cash flow is not as certain and predefined owing to the dynamic business landscape. In such scenarios, having an insurer that offers a GMC with a flexible payment arrangement on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual basis can help employers manage their cash flows effectively.

Checklist to choose the right insurer

You need a sound insurance partner to ensure optimal returns from the GMC. If you invest some time and effort in selecting the right insurer, it can prevent many hassles in the future. You need to look beyond policy coverage and premium while selecting an insurer. And here’s a checklist that will help you make the right choice.

  1. Should make things easy for the HR/admin team

    Enrolment and administration of GMC can be tedious, especially if the company is expanding their team strength. The constant churn of employees (some employees resigning and new employees joining) can create several back-end issues. In such a scenario, self-serve enrolment can prove to be a big benefit to resolve such concerns.

  2. Should be easy for the employees to manage on their own

    In some cases, the employees might not even know how to avail of the policy’s benefits, especially when it comes to beyond-hospitalisation features. Having an app or a platform that makes it easier for employees to access the benefits, customise plans, and raise claims is a great plus.

  3. Should offer the option to customise

    Employees’ needs and requirements can vary depending on their age, location, and health profile. Thus, the GMC must have an option to customise benefits and coverage. This freedom ideally should be available both to employees and employers. While the employer could prepay some benefits, employees should also have the option to enhance their cover individually by paying for add-ons and value-added services that they feel best suits their requirements.

  4. Should look beyond insurance

    The insurer must offer the right mix of insurance and beyond insurance coverage. Such holistic and beyond-insurance features include free teleconsultations with doctors, discounts on medicine and lab tests, and initiatives that incentivise a fit lifestyle.

  5. Should have a wide network of hospitals

    Cashless claim settlement is one of the most beneficial features offered by the GMC. It can be availed of at network hospitals (those hospitals that have a tie-up with the insurer). The insurance provider needs to have an extensive network of hospitals across the country to ensure easy and timely access to quality healthcare facilities.

ACKO Health (ACKO-offered Group Medical Cover) meets all the points mentioned in the checklist and also offers several other benefits. Thus, if you are looking for the right returns on an integrated health plan, then ACKO Health is an ideal choice. Read more about the benefits of ACKO Health here. 

GMC and the long game

Having an integrated approach to workplace wellbeing is taking a turn for the good, and employers must jump onto this bandwagon to receive the right returns on their investment. Today’s workforce is redefining what it considers non-negotiable while making a decision regarding joining a company or continuing the association, and health insurance is a part of the deal.

Thus, having a well-rounded GMC is a great long-term strategy for talent management, increased productivity, and enhanced goodwill. For smooth execution of the strategy, the employers will have to look beyond traditional insurance and ensure an integrated approach to workplace wellbeing, and take necessary steps to generate returns on the investment made towards GMC.

Disclaimer

This content piece is based on data available in the public domain and popular industry opinion. It is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal or professional advice. Please seek appropriate counsel from related professionals before acting on the shared information. Also, the use of images and brands are only for indication and illustration purposes. ACKO claims no rights on the IP rights of any third parties. 

Sources

  1. Economic Times

  2. Assocham

  3. Aon | 2020 Global Medical Trend Rates

  4. AHIP | The Value of Employer-Provided Coverage

  5. Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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