Only 56% of Indian employers offer maternity benefits, 14% above Rs 50,000
It is alarming to see that women, who constitute a significant portion of the workforce, are not receiving adequate maternity benefits from their employers.
Only 56% of Indian organisations offer maternity benefits to their female employees, and of these, just 14% of them have a maternity limit greater than Rs 50,000, reveals a new report by Plum, an employee health insurance platform.
The report titled, "The State of Employee Benefits 2023", evaluated over 2,500 employer-sponsored health insurance plans across businesses of all sizes and inferred that Indian employers are falling short in offering comprehensive benefits.
Comprehensive coverage: Only 5 per cent of Indian organisations offer comprehensive insurance coverage: Health Insurance (GMC) + Accident and Disability Insurance (GPA) + Term Life Insurance and comprehensive telehealth consultations (GTL + Telehealth).
Plum evaluated the policies of organisations, categorising them as early-stage start-ups (having an employee strength of less than 200 employees), high-growth businesses (having 201–750 employees), and mature stage companies (having an employee strength of 751 and above).
Sum insured: Of the 2,500-plus health insurance plans evaluated, it was observed that the median sum insured offered by India’s employers is Rs 3 lakh (startups), Rs 4 lakh (high growth companies) and Rs 5 lakh (mature stage companies).
Over 53% of organisations offer a sum insured of less than Rs 5 lakh, 43 per cent offer a sum insured of Rs 5–10 lakh, and only 3% offer a sum insured of Rs 10 lakh or greater.
Telehealth consultation : The report reveals that a majority of companies, 64 per cent provide additional health benefits beyond their health insurance plans, with telehealth consultation being the most popular at a 42 per cent adoption rate.
OPD coverage: Despite the importance of term life insurance for employees’, less than 5 per cent of companies offer it as an additional benefit. Additionally, the report reveals that while 65 per cent of India's out-of-pocket medical expenses come from OPD (outpatient department) spending, less than 2 per cent of Indian companies offer OPD coverage with insurance.
Family coverage: The report also highlights that 69 per cent of all companies evaluated have extended coverage to employees’ families. What is concerning is that of these companies, only 25 per cent cover parents, followed by 44 per cent offering an employee-spouse-children (ESC) plan, and lastly, 30 per cent offering an employee-only plan.
An extensive family coverage also helps safeguard employees’ financial well-being and makes health insurance accessible to the “missing middle” of India.
Abhishek Poddar, co-founder and CEO, Plum, said amid the current environment of uncertainty, it is essential for companies to pay heed to their employees' holistic health.
“The costs of healthcare in India are rising and a single illness can drain a family's lifetime savings. Therefore, as employers, it is important to cover employees' and their families' healthcare costs and also any ancillary costs that can occur due to accidents or lifetime disabilities. Not only will this increase peace of mind at work, but also increase retention and create an environment of equitable benefits for all. If salaries are benchmarked, so should benefits be," he added.
“The way organisations and employees view insurance is changing. It is no longer a basic benefit, but one that helps with talent management and retention,” said Aditya Bagarka, Head of Strategy and Innovation at Plum.
Bagarka recommends what the ideal basic comprehensive coverage should be. He also recommends what companies that want to go above and beyond with modern coverage should provide.