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Employee choice in benefits is future: Marsh India survey

India Blooms News Service | 25 Feb 2015, 12:24 am
Mumbai, Feb 24 (IBNS): A majority of employers believe that employee choice in benefits would help improve employee retention and attraction and make employees see larger value in the benefits provided to them, according to Marsh's 8th Annual Employee Health and Benefits Study, which was launched recently.
The study, which every year features an assessment of the key concerns and realities of the evolving health and benefits landscape, finds attracting and retaining talent, being able to meet employee’s needs, and providing benefit enhancements as the key drivers for organizations’ implementing employee choice in benefits.
In India, the concept of providing employee choice is new. However increasing voluntary programmes built into group insurance schemes have seen employees exercising the option to take on additional cover as per their requirements.
Around 18% of the surveyed organizations offer some sort of employee choice through voluntary and top-up plans and an additional 16% offer varied benefits around wellness and lifestyle outside of insurance. Employees can choose one or more benefits and package them to their preference.
 The insurance cover to parents as a part of the employees’ family insurance is back after having been discontinued since the last few years; almost 35% surveyed organizations offering it on voluntary basis in addition to 41% sponsoring parents cover. 
Similarly choices are available in health & wellness programs and other benefit enhancements such as maternity limits, different co-pay percentage on claims, etc.
Sanjay Kedia, CEO of Marsh India, says, “Asia lags behind other developed regions in offering choice in employee benefits. However, in the past few years many organizations are increasingly moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach."
"In India, high medical inflation and the increasing utilization of health insurance cover by employees, and their dependents are contributing to the rise of health care costs and consequently insurance premiums. As costs escalate, it’s essential for organizations to ensure they have long-term and sustainable benefits strategies. When used correctly, it can be a powerful tool to manage the costs of benefits, increase employee retention rates and enhance credibility as an employer of choice,” says he.
Benefits can be classified as insured and non-insured - Insured benefits typically include medical, life, accident, health screening, maternity, dental, vision, critical illness, and parents coverage, whereas  non-insured benefits would include phone, gym / fitness equipment, travel, vacation, personal and family development andprofessional subscription.
India, according to the survey, is still far behind many Asian countries when it comes to offering choice and the next few years will shape the future of employee choice in India.
In India, 73% of respondents among employers pointed towards attraction and retention of talent as the reason to offer choice, followed by 60% saying it meets the needs of their employees better.
Costs being a key concern in the Indian market, 81% of organisations stated that they would be keen to implement choice, if it can help in maximizing the value of their existing benefit spend. Additionally, an equal percentage of employers stated the need to respond to diverse workforce and market competitiveness as key drivers to implementing choice, the survey said.

Employee choice in benefits is future: Marsh India survey

India Blooms News Service
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