Outpatient insurance renewals usually take place in January, April or November. During this period, it is the optimal time to determine whether the insurance plan has been working well for your company and employees. Ultimately, you want your employees’ needs to be covered as much as possible and to maximise your investment into your employees' healthcare coverage.
In this article, we will be looking at 4 things to consider before you renew your insurance plan.
1) Renewal date
After purchasing an insurance package, we usually do not revisit the documents again until we approach the renewal date. However, it will always take some time to negotiate premium prices and that is why it is crucial to remember our renewal dates.
It is advisable for companies to review the current employee benefits strategy around 3 months before the renewal period. This provides sufficient time for the company to re-evaluate the policies and decide whether to stick to the outpatient insurance plan or explore other options.
For some companies, the HRs will check with employees regarding their experience throughout the year and then come to a decision whether they should renew the insurance plan.
2) Check the premium amount
Before any renewal, always remember to check your company’s payable premium amount for the next year. Due to medical inflation, it is common to see premiums rise. However, on many occasions, your company is being charged a higher premium because of the previous year’s high annual claim amount.
Insurance companies utilise a concept known as “loading” when determining premium prices. All insurance providers will predict a certain amount that they will have to spend on every employee each year. This is the invisible “limit” that employees can spend in every policy year. Take for instance in a particular year, your company has many employees falling sick and they go beyond the threshold set by the insurance company. Although insurance companies will continue to pay the costs, they will load the premiums for the next year when your company renews the package.
Insurance companies have to load premiums in order to cover its losses amongst the uncertainties that may occur. More often than not, employers may be on the receiving end of a rude shock when they see that premiums have risen. Hence, it is wise to check the premium amount before you sign the insurance renewal.
On the other hand, there could be occasions where the premium amount stays the same, but you start realising that your staff is under-utilising the available benefits and your current plan might not be the most cost-effective on. As such, it is good to research on the available plans and their prices to ensure that you are maximising the company budget.
3) Review insurance coverage to ensure it meets existing demands
The Singapore government has in-place Medishield Life to cover large hospital bills for all Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. But besides covering illness, it is also good to reward employees and motivate them to keep healthy. Going a step further to enhance employees’ wellness and improve productivity at work, your company can offer some coverage for outpatient treatment, as part of the employee benefits plan.
Most, if not all, insurance companies do not cover other aspects of health such as emotional and physical wellbeing. Due to changing demographics in the workforce, there is a need to ensure that your insurance plan meets the existing demands. Insurance adopts a one-size-fits-all model which rewards the sick. For those who are healthy, they do not get to enjoy most of the benefits. As such, if the needs of employees are not met, it is not worth the time and effort to purchase an insurance package.
With an increasingly diverse workforce, it is essential to cater to the needs of different age groups (both the young and aged). Young adults might prefer gym membership discounts because many of them visit the gym when they are free to keep fit. For the aged, they could require more attention in terms of GP and dental services.
4) Research current market offerings
For the company to stay attractive to talents in the job market, it is important to research on current market offerings and find out what employee benefits other companies are providing.
From our research, we found that more companies are making the switch from traditional healthcare coverage to flexi-benefits plans. Many flexi-benefits plans are enabled by technology which enables providers to offer healthcare coverage at a more affordable cost and enhance user experience.
Based on our research, we found that employers mainly consider four points when choosing the right benefits strategy for their employees. They are:
Affordability of the benefits plan is often a huge consideration for many employers like yourself. You certainly want to pick a plan which can help maximise your investment in employee benefits. If your employees can enjoy corporate rates and discounts at healthcare providers, it helps the company to stretch the dollar in the long run. At the same time, if you are able to estimate your health benefits budget, it will also allow your company to better allocate finances and improve cash flow.
b) Network coverage
Have you had employees who face the hassle of having to travel a long-distance before finding an in-panel clinic? It is important to find a benefits strategy that offers a sizeable coverage of in-panel health providers so that all your employees can visit one at their convenience.
c) Customer service
Is there a hotline you can call when in doubt? Are your queries attended to quickly? Having good customer service can help improve your employees’ experience when enjoying their benefits and reduce HRs’ workload.
d) Wellness perks
Back to the initial point regarding meeting existing demands, many healthy employees look out for wellness perks such as optical and dental care. In order to cater to the needs of different groups of employees, you and your HR will have to study carefully what each plan covers. We have gathered a list of desired employee benefits and they can aid you to decide what to include in your benefits strategy.