Life Vibe

Health assurance can help companies build strong employer brands

Healthcare in India has had its challenges over the last eight decades. Limitations of access, quality and cost exist to this day. Health issues have been on the rise with India having a sizable number of the world’s diabetics, hypertension cases, cardiac and pulmonary cases and mental health afflicted, among others. Companies have had the opportunity to solve these limitations through employer-provided or employer-subsidised health care for employees and their families, but they have limited themselves to only providing health insurance, which only 10% of employees use on average. And in the process, they have lost out on an opportunity to reap the benefits of a healthier workforce – fewer sick days, lowered absenteeism and more productivity and the creation of a strong employer brand, that forges a deep connection with employees and families by focussing on the one thing that matters most – health and well-being.

Healthcare (Getty images) PREMIUM
Healthcare (Getty images)

The issue is also with the fact that health insurance, the predominant health benefit, hasn’t expanded into more than being a system of payment for sick care and hospitalisation and hasn’t incentivised itself to keep people healthy. The health care system too has had negligible focus on preventive healthcare and is largely focused on treating those who knock on its doors with sickness. There is a gap here that requires a new system that has a primary focus on keeping people healthy, while providing care for them when they are sick and a system of payment for sick care (insurance). That system is health assurance.

Health assurance is a new health care system whose primary objective is to create good health (complete physical, mental and social well-being) and prevent disease, while providing accessible, affordable and effective care for sickness. Health assurance combines data, technology and preventive medical care to deliver an empathetic people-centric healthcare experience that will make people healthier than before and reduce their need for sick care, while providing for it.

In effect, for the cost of their group health insurance premium, a company can now assure its employees of better health by combining healthcare with health insurance – the payer of healthcare and provider of healthcare. From an employee/family member’s point of view, they will feel like the entire healthcare and insurance system is working for their unique condition, something that has never been experienced before in India

How does it work? Health assurance has three main pillars – data, technology and preventive care that come together to deliver an omnichannel assurance experience:

· Data helps to personalise the healthcare and insurance experience – this can vary from employee and family health history, periodic employee-shared data on health parameters, data captured on a person’s activity. This can also include a company’s health insurance claim’s history, their own health priorities (mental health, diabetes, obesity as examples). Data is collected, analysed and leveraged to offer personalised behavioural nudges to an employee or their family member to take preventive, proactive steps towards better health.

· Technology makes the healthcare experience (doctor consultations, medicine purchases, lab test booking, health data analysis) and health insurance experience (e-card access, claims processing) easy to use on a consumer tech platform like a mobile app or Whatsapp-based chatbot or website that the user is already comfortable with. Health assurance goes beyond insuretech or healthtech – this is technology being applied to the entire healthcare lifecycle.

· Preventive care is the cornerstone of health assurance. The unique aspect of preventive care in the assurance mode is that the only incentive, economic or otherwise, is to create better health for the person / their family. Health assurance combines 24×7 access to medical expertise in an employee’s pocket with a guided journey that the medical expert takes the employee on to take preventive measures on diet, activity, medication, lifestyle corrections and also on sick care like the right specialist, the right diagnostics partner, the right hospital. All of this is a guided journey and the employee is never left to “fend for themselves”.

So, what does a health assurance system implemented within a company result in – employees will find that their unique situations are understood and addressed by a new healthcare system (provided by the employer) that is focused on keeping them healthy. Over time, they will actually use the health care system less owing to being in a better physical and mental shape, they will see fewer sick days and feel more energetic and productive at work. They will find that their employer cares not just for them but also for their family who may be co-located or remote.

Employers, who spend enormous sums of money on group health insurance, as the sole health benefit, with limited uptake will see their health benefit become whole in that they get an entire health care system in place for the cost of their premium. They will see more adoption of the assurance-driven health benefits package, find employees to be more engaged and form a deep connection with them. Health assurance also reduces health insurance claims over time and this is a direct benefit to the operating margins. Employees will be more enthusiastic and productive, loyal. All of this will make the company a strong employer brand.

This article is authored by Amrit Singh, co-founder and CRO, Loop.


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