Increasingly employees in the private sector count on their employers for health insurance needs. Some employers offer well-rounded insurance policies to their employees which include wellness and various other ancilliary benefits whereas most end up leaving mental health out of the ambit of insurance.
A report by Loop titled ‘Corporate India’s Insurance Trap -- The Glaring Gap in Employee Health Benefits’ sheds light on a number of factors which include the need of emphasis on wellness, preventive care, mental health, better hospitalisation services and lifestyle related diseases.
The report garnered inputs from 500 human resource leaders across industries and explores the way they currently look at health benefits for their employees.
These are some of the key observations of the study:
Emphasis on wellness: Now the term healthcare has grown to hold a more holistic meaning with the ambit expanding from merely covering emergencies to include overall wellness, shows the Loop study.
The survey shows that nearly one-third i.e., 35 percent of HR leaders who participated in the survey offer wellness services along with group health insurance.
"While wellness initiatives have remained a relatively uncharted territory, they nevertheless are gaining ground as a growing number of employers are now conducting wellness-centered employee engagement activities," reads the study.
Focus needed on mental health: As India accounts for nearly 15 percent of the global mental health burden, making workplace mental health a priority is quite important, the study claims.
With about 73% employers not covering mental health in their employee health benefits package, decreased employee productivity due to mental health issues remains stigmatized.
Also, as many as 47 percent professionals consider workplace-related stress to be the biggest deterrent to their mental health. What is surprising is that 33 percent continue to work despite poor mental health.
Preventive care grows as an integral part of health benefits: Health insurance is not only about treating ailments but also about preventive care. At present, 38 percent of Indian enterprises offer preventive care solutions as a part of their health benefits plan.
The report further cites ASSOCHAM to show that including preventive care to employee health benefits can save enterprises over $20 million annually by reducing absenteeism.
Lifestyle-related diseases a cause of concern:The study also highlights that chronic ailments affect a large number of corporate workers, with 53 percent of Indians in the age group of 26-40 years at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
The study, while citing Health of the Nation Report 2022, states that hypertension and diabetes are the most common chronic ailments in India, affecting 75 million and 67 million people respectively.
Better hospitalisation: The report concludes that standard employer-funded health coverage needs to evolve further to include hospitalization support services, such as superlative care hospitals, specialty clinics, and protective check-ups.
Only 8 percent of the respondents to the survey offer hospitalization support to their employees, which includes lab discounts, OPD and annual health check-ups.
Amrit Singh, co-founder, and CRO, of Loop — while commenting on the report — said, “This first-of-a-kind HR survey is the first step in understanding where corporate India stands today in thinking about and providing for employee healthcare. The over-reliance on group health insurance as the main/only health benefit is glaring and needs an immediate rethink.”