Corporate health plans
Providing health insurance is an increasingly popular way for employers to attract and maintain quality staff. Insurers will offer a company with a ‘group plan’ that provides one or multiple health insurance policies that will be applied to however many of their employees they make eligible. It’s cheaper this way; the premiums for an employer paying for 200 staff members would be cheaper than paying employees to find their own individual cover.
Company-provided health insurance plans are not unlike purchasing an individual plan and will come with a mix of the following benefits:
The inclusion of one or all of these benefits, the levels of coverage, and deductible/excess limits will depend on what your company has paid to provide, and may also depend on what insurance laws exist in the country you’re in. For example, people living in Dubai will find that all people living in the Emirate are required by law to have maternity insurance - even the men!
What to know about your corporate insurance
The first thing you need to do when looking at a company sponsored healthcare plan is understand how it works. Here are a few questions you might want to find answers for, either using your policy, contacting your HR department, or by getting in touch with the insurer directly:Company provided health insurance is a common feature of today’s employment packages, especially for expats. Great for ensuring a certain level of healthcare in a new country, it’s important to understand what your corporate plan covers and how to use it.
- Who is covered? Find out whether the plan covers just you, or whether your dependents (your partner and/or children) are also included in the plan.
- What are the payment methods? There are two models that insurers use: the reimbursement model, where you must pay for the care you receive first and the insurer will reimburse you the costs; or direct billing where a hospital or clinic will directly bill the insurer with all the necessary claims and patient details.
- Are pre-existing and/or ongoing conditions covered? Many individual plans exclude pre-existing conditions, but corporate plans will either include them or provide an option for employees to extend their benefits to cover pre-existing conditions.
- Where can you seek treatment? This question is twofold. First you’ll want to find out if there’s a preferred provider network that your insurer requires you to visit in order for them to accept claims. Networks provide insurers with lower care costs, so seeking care outside of the network may see your claim rejected or reduced. The second part of this question is whether or not your plan covers you solely in the country you work in, or if it’s an international plan that covers you for treatment even when travelling on holiday?
- What happens if I leave the company? Called ‘portability’, some insurers will allow you to continue your coverage under a company plan even if you leave your employer. This is helpful if you are diagnosed with something that will become a pre-existing condition later. As finding a new plan to cover a pre-existing condition can be difficult, the option to continue coverage under your employer-provided plan can be extremely valuable.
Other benefits to look out for include wellness programs that are preventative-care approaches to ensure that you not only get healthy when you’re sick, but remain healthy when you’re not. Benefits such as covered health check ups, gym memberships and the like are becoming increasingly popular for employers and employees alike.
Is it enough?
Knowing what corporate insurance is, what it does and how to use it is one half of the equation. You are the other half, so assessing whether your needs are met through the plan is also important. Not all employer-provided plans will be comprehensive and ensure you complete coverage for whatever your situation, so you need to know what your alternatives are.
Some employers will allow you to pass on their company-provided insurance and allow you to seek your own plan. Flexible employers may even provide you with a monetary contribution to an alternative plan if that’s what you choose to do. This may not be possible with every employer, but it is a great option for those who find the company insurance leaves them with coverage gaps.
The other option available to employees is purchasing ‘top-up’ insurance. These policies are cheaper than full individual health insurance plans because they’re designed to fill in the gaps of your employer-provided coverage, not comprehensively cover everything.
Using a broker to find the best top up fit for your existing corporate plan can not only save you money, but save you time as well. Whether you’re an employee or employer, Pacific Prime are an international broker in Hong Kong with 20 years of experience. Using a broker like this takes a lot of the fuss out of finding appropriate top-up or replacement insurance, and helps find high quality corporate plans for small businesses and multinational corporations.