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73 Percent of Employers Not Covering Mental Health in Their Employee Health Benefits Package: Loop Report

Business Wire India
Loop, the leader in group health insurance and healthcare for corporate employees, has released India’s first HR survey on health benefits. Titled "Corporate India’s Insurance Trap" - The Glaring Gap in Employee Health Benefits, Loop surveyed over 500 HR leaders from multiple industries across India to explore the way they are currently looking at health benefits for their employees.
 
Key revelations of the report
 
While preparing the report, Loop made the following key observations with respect to the prevalent trends amongst employers with respect to the six pillars that constitute modern health benefits plan – group health insurance, wellness initiatives, preventive care, chronic disease management, hospitalization support, and mental health:
 
3 out of 4 companies do not cover mental health in their health benefits package
 
Making workplace mental health a priority is the need of the hour, as India accounts for nearly 15% of the global mental health burden, according to WHO data. As many as 47% of Indian professionals consider workplace-related stress the biggest deterrent to their mental health, out of which 33% continue to work despite poor mental health. Decreased employee productivity due to mental health issues remains stigmatized, with about 73% of employers not covering mental health in their employee health benefits package.
 
Only 1 in 3 companies run Wellness initiatives
 
The term ‘healthcare’ has grown to hold a more holistic meaning, with the ambit expanding from merely covering medical emergencies to including overall wellness. 35% of the 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 to boost employee productivity and talent retention.
 
Only 38% of companies offer Preventive care
 
Promoting better health is not limited to treating ailments, but it also includes preventing any major issues from arising. At present, 38% of Indian enterprises offer preventive care solutions as a part of their health benefits plan. Absences due to illness cost companies nearly 2B in revenue as per the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. According to ASSOCHAM, including preventive care to employee health benefits can save enterprises over 20 million annually by reducing absenteeism.
 
Lifestyle-related diseases a cause for concern
 
Chronic ailments affect a large number of corporate workers, with 53% of Indians in the age group of 26-40 years at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Hypertension and diabetes are the most common chronic ailments in India, affecting 75 million and 67 million people respectively, as per the Health of the Nation Report 2022. According to the same report, about 60% people leave the treatment for their chronic conditions mid-way, owing to high out-of-pocket expenditure. WHO predicts about 70% of deaths in India by 2030 will be due to chronic diseases.
 
Policy benchmarking shows cross-industry disparities
 
IT and Education sectors have higher benchmarks with respect to employee insurance, with most enterprises assuring a sum of INR 5 lacs with 1+5 family structure, maternity benefits of up to INR 50,000, and neonatal and postnatal cover of INR 5,000. Mid-market benchmarking shows wide variation with respect to sum assured, with amounts ranging from INR 3 lacs to INR 5 lacs and maternity benefits ranging from INR 35,000 to INR 50,000. A 1+3 family structure is followed throughout. SME across sectors seldom include maternity, prenatal and postnatal covers, assure sums as low as INR 2 lacs, and follow 1+3 family structure.

Only 8% of companies offer hospitalization assistance to employees

Standard employer-funded health coverage needs to evolve further to include hospitalization support services, such as superlative care hospitals, specialty clinics, and protective checkups. Only 8% of the respondents to the survey offer hospitalization support to their employees, which includes lab discounts, OPD and annual health checkups.
 
Group Health Insurance - necessary but not sufficient
 
Most employers in India are providing their employees with Group Health Insurance, as 100% of the survey respondents reported offering Group Health Insurance. The pandemic has driven HR leaders to reevaluate the health benefits offered to the employees, with employees acknowledging the medical inflation and stepping up to add Covid-related insurance to the health benefits they previously provided to their employees.
 
Commenting on the report, Amrit Singh, co-founder, and CRO, of Loop said, “India is home to one of the largest workforces in the world. Corporate India can transform the state of health for employees and their families, thereby changing the healthcare experience for a significant part of the nation. 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. Our report has been carefully curated to aid HR leaders across the country in making informed decisions regarding the healthcare needs of the employees, and provide them with health benefits that actually work for them.”


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