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Employers cut down health insurance benefits due to increasing costs

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2011 | 2607 Views

The cost of health insurance cover has gone up and employers are changing the benefits offered to employees in a bid to adapt to the situation. According to employee benefit survey conducted by Marsh India, a 20% increase in cost of health insurance is forcing employers to ask their employees to make a co-payment on policies. Co-payment means that the employee has to pay a part of the costs incurred when making a claim and the remaining part is paid by the insurance company. Around 33% organisations have applied co-pay on claims as compared to 13% last year.

The survey covered 1,800 employees in 188 organisations as well as 5 insurance companies, 5 third party administrators (TPAs) and 5 health and wellness solution providers.

The average policy premium cost per employee has increased from Rs 6,800 in 2008-2009 to Rs 9,300 in 2011.  Over the last two years, under the group medical cover offered by companies, the average Sum Assured has come down to Rs 300,000 from Rs 500,000.
Health insurance by Companies or Employers
The survey reveals that over the next 3 years, more than 52% employers are likely to make changes in the benefits offered by them. Close to 90% of the employers have adopted some form of cost containment measures in their benefit plan as compared to 81% last year.

Sanjay Kedia, CEO of Marsh India said, "Companies will have to look at engaging with the employees to have a more preventive strategy and for early detection of illness to bring down cost."

"Understanding the underlying cost drivers and adopting appropriate measures such as employee engagement and wellness initiatives will result in greater long-term suitability. Some of the changes such as co-pay are aimed at having some kind of reasonable behaviour among those covered. Or else, there is a tendency to go for the most expensive room at the costliest hospital," he added. 

The survey shows that the parental coverage sponsored by organizations under group health insurance has reduced from 51% to 40%.

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