5 SME Group Medical Insurance Trends in 2021

5 SME Group Medical Insurance Trends in 2021

5 SME Group Medical Insurance Trends in 2021

blüüm
employee benefits
Aug 23, 2021
5 SME Group Medical Insurance Trends in 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive disruption to global development. Specifically, the delivery of healthcare has also been taking a hit. This can be explained by the fact that the continuous changes to work patterns resulting from the epidemic has been posing a lasting impact on both the cost and design of employer-sponsored insurance.


Foreseeing the ongoing impact of the pandemic to the world, it is of vital importance for any organisation to provide employees with a sound, holistic health plan. Companies should understand that people are their greatest assets and act as the key to businesses emerging stronger from the COVID-19 crisis. Hence, in a bid to select the best policy for its workers, it is high time that companies delve into the major group medical insurance trends.


employer-sponsored insurance

Employer-sponsored health insurance becomes indispensable for providing health services 

Employee-sponsored health insurance will continue to play a fundamental role in furnishing people with the health services they need. 


Since the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a worldwide public health emergency, companies are alerted to take employee’s well-being into consideration for business continuity. Thus, purchasing group medical insurance has become a prevalent norm for large corporations, SME or startups who would like to keep the morale of employees high, as well as to create greater and more sustainable prosperity to the organisation. 


Moreover, employees also have some expectation towards the health benefits. According to a survey conducted by Mercer Marsh Benefits, about 55% employees in Asia expect their employer-sponsored plans will cover COVID-19 vaccinations, while 82%, compared to a global average of 69%, expect to cover COVID-19 in-patient treatments. Employees are relying on employers to provide comprehensive health services more than ever before, and employers are ready to respond to the needs.


Medical insurance costs continue to rise

However, there is an undeniable surge in medical insurance costs. As the COVID-19 pandemic has restated the prominent role of employees' health benefits, companies are more willing to invest into medical insurance, in order to safeguard the needs of employees.  According to Mercer’s survey, there is a resumption of a significant portion of medical spend, which includes inpatient and outpatient expenses generally covered under medical plans. Furthermore, the research also revealed that annual premiums for employer-provided health coverage has increased 4%, compared to the previous year. 


What’s more, this trend of increasing costs is expected to continue. 68% of insurers globally expect increased medical claims driven by COVID-19 diagnostics, care and treatment. Insurers also claimed that they expect rises in medical costs to last to vastly outstrip inflation. For 2021, 86% of insurers in Asia expect the trend to sustain or increase. It is predicted that medical insurance costs will continue the upward growth in the next few years.


employees' need for health protection

Increased awareness of the need for health protection

The outbreak of COVID-19 has increased public concern over the need for health protection. Corporations, SMEs and startups have well understood that people are the important assets in the company for business sustainable development. Hence, purchasing group medical insurance has become a prevalence, in order to enhance employees’ overall well-being. According to the survey, 55% of small firms and 99% of large ones offer health coverage to at least some workers. This exemplifies that corporations are paying more attention to supporting the health protection for its employees.


Notably, going digital is a phenomenon in insurance service. There is an ignited shift toward digital engagement, as customers across the age spectrum gain the confidence and desire to transact digitally. blüüm, as an one-stop insurtech platform, has also rolled out a healthcare app for its insurance users, which supports insurance and health management services at any time, anywhere. The overall process for seeking medical support goes digital, which reduces employees’ time cost and stress. 


Broadening suite of preventive solutions

With many employers understanding the importance of selecting a well-designed group medical insurance plan,  they are looking for benefit insurance providers that can offer a comprehensive range of employee benefits. For example, they seek additional benefits such as mental health, preventive care, and an enhanced range of digital and online services. 


For catering to the customers’ needs, insurers are striving for broadening their suite of solutions. There was found to be an increase in the number of insurers offering virtual health consultations or telemedicine with 47% in Asia. Moreover, 47% of insurers in Asia now cover preventive health initiatives such as screenings, with an additional 22% indicating that they are experimenting or have developed plans to initiate this within the next 24 months.


To prevent the well-being challenges brought by the workplace disruptions, and to gain control over the growing medical costs, companies should take preventative wellness measures and readjust their employee benefits correspondingly.


Increasing demand for service digitalisation

With technological advancement in 2021, the way we purchase insurance has been revolutionised. Traditionally, insurance is sold via physical channels, such as offline meetings with brokers and agents. Nonetheless, digital channels are now becoming the primary means due to the skyrocketing customer demand for service digitalisation. According to a 2020 survey of European insurance executives, 89 percent of respondents expect a significant acceleration in digitization. 

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 situation has also facilitated the self-served digital platform. The pandemic unveils the inability to meet in person, as there is limited engagement between brokers and clients in the office. Nevertheless, customers show preference for digital channels or interaction with carriers digitally. Insurers are adapting to meet rising expectations for service digitalisation, with the rollout of digital engagement tools or platforms to enhance the seamless interaction between agents and clients.

blüüm understands human customer support is still an important element in helping customers to navigate any questions in order to provide a personalised and authentic customer experience. Agents at blüüm are dedicated to provide consultations through digital means or in-person, at the choice of customers.

Click here to learn more about the latest group medical insurance and employment benefits for your team. You can also feel free to WhatsApp us at +852 5379 8911 or email us at info@bluum.hk.

employee benefits
Aug 23, 2021
blüüm
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