India Inc investing in employee benefits despite constrained budgets and rising premiums

– Median insurance coverage up 66%, Preventive healthcare usage jumps 110%, Flexible benefits adoption doubles

~ Plum: The State of Employee Benefits 2024 ~

National, Thursday April 18, 2024: Plum, India’s leading insurtech platform today launched its flagship report, The State of Employee Benefits 2024. The study encompassing 4500+ companies revealed that the median Sum Insured has risen 66% from ₹3L- ₹5L . There has also been a 2x uptick in flexible benefits adoption (insurance programs that can be personalised by employees), a 15% increase in companies offering maternity benefits and a 110% surge in companies offering comprehensive healthcare (preventive and primary).

Amidst tight budgets, companies have aimed to continue investing in employee health and wellbeing even as insurance plans and benefits are now being crafted with greater care and a focus on sustainability.

What has changed?

The primary concern for most CHROs this year is the absolute spending on employee benefits. 40% of CHROs have observed that the business environment is impacting their benefits budget. That premiums on benefit plans are expected to increase by 11% this year on account of medical inflation does not make things easier.

Unveiling Plum’s flagship “The State of Employee Benefits 2024”, Abhishek Poddar, Cofounder and CEO said, “We are in an era where ‘modern benefits’ are equated to employer brand and employee retention. Our study reveals 76% of employees weigh the quality of benefits as a factor to stay at a company or leave. Benefits also have evolved – it is no longer just insurance, but employee health and wellbeing that is a matter of concern for employers who care. Despite tight market conditions, it is heartening to see companies adopting sustainable policies, keeping in mind employee morale.”

Trends observed by The State of Employee Benefits 2024:

Unicorns and global startups’ covers are comprehensive, with a good mix of telehealth included. These companies are setting the actual benchmarks for the rest. Though, when it comes to benefits, size doesn’t matter; intent does.

● Global Startups lead with a median sum insured at ₹10L, while startups and smaller companies offer between ₹1- ₹6L.

● There’s a high adoption of modern treatment coverage, with 95%+ for global startups and a significant majority for other types of companies.

● Outpatient Department (OPD) benefits are gaining importance among unicorns at 30%, indicating a focus on accessible day-to-day healthcare.

● LGBTǪ+ inclusive health coverage is provided universally by global startups and unicorns, with a widespread adoption across other company sizes.

● Maternity benefits average over ₹1L in global startups, showing a commitment to supporting growing families.

● Companies have started adopting accident and disability insurance with Unicorns leading the charge with 90%, global startups 60% with the median being 45%.

● Term life insurance is gaining prominence with Unicorns covering 75%, global companies 30%, median among the rest is 14%.

● Telehealth services, crucial for preventive and primary healthcare, are almost universally included in global startups and widely incorporated across other firms, although specialty services may not be included in smaller companies.

That said, the top 10%ile provides unmatched benefits irrespective of size. They view benefits as an investment into great talent – an organisation’s key asset. These companies also believe in providing their employees with the ‘care’ they deserve.

Saurabh Arora, Cofounder and CTO of Plum said, “Challenging market conditions shouldn’t prevent caring companies from offering tailored benefits. We’ve been collaborating with our clients to create sustainable policies that benefit both employers and employees.”

A snapshot of a sustainable policy:

● Introducing a parental co-pay/ voluntary parental covers

● Prudent room-rent capping (example: ₹10K per day)

● Reasonable limits on elective treatments (example: cataract limit of ₹50K per eye)

Although the direction is positive, it is important to note that companies have much progress to make in offering extensive benefits. The standard maternity coverage hovers around ₹50K, diversity and inclusion are often overlooked, outpatient care coverage is not widespread, and primary and preventive healthcare have low adoption rates across most Indian organisations.

The State of Employee Benefits is Plum’s annual benefits report card gleaning over 4500 policies to draw insights on how companies (2-5000+ employees), design and define their benefits plan. This year, Plum has published Edition 2 – go here for a deep dive.

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