What are the benefits of group health insurance?
The importance of health insurance is known to everyone. There are multiple types of health insurance plans available in the market. These include individual plans, family floater plans, unit linked health insurance plans and group Mediclaim.
While a lot is known about the first three types of health plans (as we select the service provider and also bear the premium costs), not much is spoken about Group Health Insurance Plans. A Group Mediclaim offers health insurance to a group of people. This group usually consists of employees of an organization, society members, etc. These plans offer numerous benefits to the beneficiaries and also to the insurance providers (i.e. companies).
Advantages of Group Insurance for the insured
- “Auto” coverage
All the members of the group (who are being offered the Group Mediclaim) are by default covered under the insurance plan from the date of joining. There is minimal paperwork involved in the process. Additionally, in most cases, the family members or dependents of the primary insured are also covered under the policy.
- Lower costs
The saying, more the merrier stands true in case of insurance premium costs. In Group Mediclaim plans, the number of insured is higher. Hence, the cost of insurance comes down significantly. As compared to individual plans, one gets higher coverage and more facilities with lesser premium amount. Also, many times the employer or organization pays the premium amount for all the people covered. Else, there is a co-pay arrangement where the premium is split between the insured and the employer. It is a win-win arrangement for the insured in both the cases.
- Medical check-up
Most organizations have medical check-ups as a pre-joining formality. Hence, there is no separate medical check-up required in order to get enrolled under the Group Health Insurance Plan.
- Immediate coverage
Health insurance policies usually have a waiting period of 30 days. During this period, only accidental expenses are entertained. However, in case of group health insurance plans, there is no such waiting period. One is eligible to make a claim as soon as they get enrolled under the Group Mediclaim.
- Pre-existing ailments
Many individual or family floater insurance plans do not cover pre-existing ailments or have a waiting period (around 2-3 years) for such diseases. The premium involved is also on the higher side for such coverage.
Group Health Insurance plans, on the other hand usually cover pre-existing diseases from the first day itself. That too without any hidden rider or clause.
- Maternity Benefits
Maternity related expenses are excluded from a lot of individual health plans. However, most of the Group Health Insurance policies offer maternity benefits to the insured or spouse.
- Coverage for parents
Group Insurance Scheme for employees or members comes extremely handy when one has aged dependent parents. There is an inverse relationship between the insured’s age and the premium costs. This is due to the fact that the probability of requiring medical attention increases as you age. As a result, if one needs to insure their parents (especially above the age of 50 years), the premium amount can become exceedingly high. This is where a group medical plan becomes extremely helpful. Most of these policies cover dependent parents (or parents-in-laws) of the primary policy holder without any riders.
Due to the volume of business involved, insurance companies generally appoint a relationship manager to employers or organizations offering Group Mediclaim policies. This spoc assists the members in hospital paperwork and resolves their queries. This kind of assistance is generally not available with individual health plans.
Advantages of Group Insurance for the employer
- Motivated Workforce
“Employee Care” is one of the most sought after non-monetary perquisite. A good health cover not only takes care of the financial expenses but also provides the much-needed peace of mind to the employees or group members.
A group insurance scheme for employees gives the message that the employer cares about their (and their family’s) well-being. The result is a motivated workforce who look forward to giving their best to the organization.
A US based survey by SHRM indicated that 46% of the respondents considered health insurance as either a significant influencer or a deciding factor in selecting an employer. With the exponential increase in quality healthcare costs in our country along with rapidly increasing instances of lifestyle diseases, the co-relation would be similar. As a result, a robust group health insurance plan acts a retention tool for organizations.
Organizations/ employers can customize the offerings of the Group Health Plans as per the needs of their employees. This ensures that the policyholders benefit even more from the health plans. For example, if majority of the employees are in the age bracket of 30-40 years, the organization may prefer to focus more on preventive check-ups, etc.
A group health insurance is a win-win for everyone. The employees feel more financially secure and employers get a motivated and positive workforce. Even for insurance companies, it is a beneficial deal due to the number of people involved.
However, it is important to remember that it is not a question about Group Insurance vs. Individual Insurance. It should be “and” not “or” when it comes to protecting your health.
So, if you are an employer and have not yet extended this benefit to your staff, do think hard about it. And if you are an employee and receive this benefit of health and well-being from your organization, you are sure to give your best at work. After all, a healthy mind and body is a great enabler!