Less than five per cent of companies offer comprehensive healthcare options to their employees that include insurance, telehealth, and other health benefits while the median sum insured offered by India’s employers is only Rs 3 lakh, revealed a study by insurance-tech firm Plum.
The study titled 'The Health Report of Corporate India 2023', also found that 85 per cent of employees with a chronic illness do not feel supported by their employers.The report covered over 3,000 employee healthcare plans and healthcare strategies of 5000 companies in India.
“An average person spends 90,000 hours working. That’s almost a third of their life. Hence just health insurance is not enough - companies should adopt comprehensive healthcare benefits that accommodate insurance, primary, and preventive care,” said Saurabh Arora, Co-founder and CTO, Plum.
Employees are underinsured in India
Seventy per cent of companies offer health insurance to their employees’ families, but only 25 per cent extend it to their employee’s parents.
Fifty-six per cent of companies offer maternity benefits, while less than one per cent of companies offer holistic cover for people with disabilities and 60 per cent of companies offer new age insurance that includes same-sex partner covers, IVF treatments, and more.
Further, 12 per cent of companies offer employer-sponsored telehealth to their employees and less than 1 per cent of companies offer OPD coverage.
According to the report, 57 per cent of companies offer employees the option of discounted health checkups, 56 per cent of companies offer employees dental and vision benefits, and 60 per cent of companies offer the option for discounted medicines. However, only 10 per cent of companies offer options for mental well-being through telehealth or other mental wellness benefits.
How employees use their insurance
According to the report, employees are using insurance for their family members with 60 per cent of claims being raised for an employee’s dependent.
Thirty-three per cent of claims were for maternity, neonatal care, and pregnancy-related issues, 14 per cent of claims were raised for infectious diseases like dengue, bacterial infections, and more and only five per cent were raised for cancer, said the report.
Younger employees tend to ignore an employer-sponsored healthcare initiative
According to the report, only 60 per cent of employees believe their companies care for their health and wellbeing. Adoption of employer-sponsored healthcare plans among youth aged 20-30 has been half as compared to employees aged 51 and above, said the Plum report.
Irrigation coverage: Farms in majority of states are still rain-dependent
Ahead of Diwali, Delhi announced Rs 7,000 bonus for Group B and C employees
NITES files complaint against TCS over forced transfer of employees
Tech employees most satisfied with their jobs, least likely to switch
Indian firms dole out double-digit hikes, most employees satisfied
NFO alert: DSP Mutual Fund launches DSP Banking & Financial Services Fund
You can save on petrol spends with fuel credit cards: Which are the best?
Manufacturing tops insolvency cases, real estate a close second
Now, senior citizens can enjoy high and guaranteed returns for long term
7 key changes to Senior Citizen's Savings Scheme: All you need to know
It further noted that 42 per cent of employees (across age groups) expressed an interest in the availability of ‘flex benefits’, where they get to choose their own healthcare plans.
Less than 30 per cent of employees participate in company-sponsored wellbeing initiatives with 71 per cent bearing last-mile healthcare expenses out of pocket (which roughly averages to 5 per cent of the annual income), said the report.
Merely eight per cent of employees avail of discounted medicines and less than one per cent of employees avail of vision check-ups.
“There’s a constant apprehension of whether employers access personal healthcare data. To increase adoption, companies must first offer employees psychological safety. In addition, vendors change every year, impacting the continuity of care. Most companies do not measure impact or improvement in health outcomes,” said Jayanth Ganapathy, Head of Healthcare at Plum.
According to the report, with preventive healthcare, employers were able to save their employees over Rs 1.8 crore in healthcare costs.
Employer-sponsored telehealth makes healthcare accessible to non-metro cities
“For preventive and primary health, we recommend that corporates offer their employees virtual healthcare, as well as a wallet that allows employees to avail personalised health benefits that work for them,” said the report.
According to the report, virtual primary healthcare resulted in employers saving their employees over 6 crores in healthcare costs. Thirty per cent of telehealth consultations occurred in non-metro cities, with 55 per cent made by employees and 45 per cent made by an employee’s family member.
Employees are also using telehealth to address sensitive healthcare needs with 26 per cent being used for consultations for a general physician. Eighteen per cent of consultations are for dermatologists, 16 per cent of consultations are for mental wellness and only six per cent of consultations are for nutritionists, said the report.
The most common consultations were with a General Physician (24 per cent), for Mental Health (18 per cent), and with a Dermatologist (21 per cent), said the report. Surprisingly, as per the report, only 12 per cent of companies provide telehealth support to their employees.
What report recommends for employees' healthcare plans
According to Plum, employees' healthcare plans should include basic comprehensive coverage, irrespective of size, that also covers spouses and children. The sum insured should be Rs 5 lakh, including maternity and modern treatment expenses of up to Rs 1 lakh.
The report also recommends that the insurance sum should be Rs 10 lakh if the coverage includes spouses, children, and parents. This includes maternity and modern treatment expenses up to Rs 1.5 lakh.