June 14, 2024

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Employer-sponsored health insurance costs may rise by 11% in 2024: Report

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Employer-sponsored health insurance costs in India are expected to rise by 11% in 2024 – up from 9.6% in 2023, according to a new report by health and benefits consultancy Mercer Marsh Benefits, a business of Marsh McLennan. The report highlighted that focusing on enhancing plans and providing targeted health benefits for specific ailments and demographics will play a crucial role in controlling costs next year.

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Interestingly, 57% of insurers worldwide anticipate that prioritising plan enhancements will be more important than implementing cost-saving strategies in the coming year, the report said.

Transformational healthcare solutions such as digital outpatient services and virtual tools – including tele/video consultations with doctors, wearable devices, and remote patient monitoring – are contributing to improved accessibility and affordability for both employees and organisations. Already, 50% of insurers surveyed across Asia – including India – are already using these tools to deliver greater programme efficiencies for their clients.

Further, 70% of insurers surveyed globally expect the future use of artificial intelligence for first-line diagnosis and/or navigation to have a transformative impact on employer-sponsored healthcare over the next five years.

The research also found that – despite insurers globally extending cover for under-represented groups, with 31% considering adding diagnosis, learning support or occupational therapy to support neurodiversity – diversity and inclusion gaps continue to persist in India, especially for benefits relating to mental health, women’s health, and people with disabilities.

Prawal Kalita, Employee Benefits Leader, Marsh India, said: “Organisations in India are faced with mounting financial pressures associated with rising premiums. This is necessitating a renewed focus on balancing cost containment in the short term with the provision of high-quality benefits that support the needs on an evolving workforce and aid talent attraction and retention in the longer term.

“By embracing outpatient primary healthcare and digital healthcare solutions, refreshing benefits strategies through flexible benefits programmes, and bridging coverage gaps, organisations in India can manage rising costs more effectively and pave the way for accessible and effective healthcare plans for all,” he said.

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