Employee Health Benefits Need Holistic Approach

With digitalisation innovating most if not all aspects of our lives, it comes as no surprise that corporate healthcare is following the same trend. In fact, healthcare technology is one of the fastest-growing sectors within the already rapidly expanding tech ecosystem.

With current growth projections of big data and its immense impact, corporations can safely expect the trend of incorporating big data into employee healthcare which will in turn, power the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. Therefore, it is safe to say that technology will play a vital role in shaping corporate healthcare.

Technology is transforming the way employers and Human Resources (HR) teams
around the world are approaching employee healthcare. Today, it is not just about
corporations providing their employees with access to standard medical care but giving
employees a say in their own healthcare benefits according to their preferences and

In the first half of 2018, more than USD3 billion was invested in Asia’s healthcare
sector and that number is projected to have grown this year . With the current
investments made towards the healthcare sector, health technology players are well
positioned to diversify their tactics in creating multiple approaches to employee
healthcare, thus shaping trends within corporate healthcare.

In Malaysia, the healthcare market is projected to experience a 127 percent growth to RM127.9 billion in 2027 from the RM56.3 billion in 2017 . While this may be good news for the nation’s economy, studies have reported an overdependence of employees on their
corporate health benefits plans.

In fact, Malaysia’s medical costs are projected to rise to 12.7 percent this year, while group hospitalisation and surgical (GHS) insurance claim amounts increased by eight percent from RM4,711 to RM 5,082 last year . Moreover, it has been reported that 91 percent of employers in Malaysia have reported not having a clear roadmap or strategy when planning their benefits program.

The same report states that 91 percent of Human Resource (HR) teams in Malaysia have difficulty in defining a clear benefits strategy which aligns with their employees’ expectations and needs.

Therefore, employers have admitted to relying on benchmarking data to design their
employee health care programme. However, though benchmarking may be the most
common tool in helping employers design their healthcare programs, it merely provides
them insight into common practices from other companies. Instead, what all companies
require is data unique to the healthcare trends of their internal ecosystem.

To illustrate how a company can benefit from specific benchmarking data, HealthMetrics, a homegrown corporate healthcare management platform, conducted a case study through real-time data and analytics for one of its clients which has a young workforce of 800 employees, aged between 25 to 38 years old. The aim of the study was to determine the most suitable healthcare plan for the employees. Before the results were revealed, the company hypothesized that their relatively young workforce would make use of gym benefits the most, due to their age. What HealthMetrics discovered was that gym benefits had the lowest take-up rate, while that of dental and vision benefits were the highest at 79 percent.

Through this data, the client was better informed and thus, was able to create more relevant benefit programs to cater to its employees’ needs. The switch to a self-funded pay-per-use platform has also allowed the company to achieve 32 percent savings of their annual budget from hefty insurance premiums, which can be reallocated into other more strategic benefits for employees and their dependents.

“There are many pain points which companies face when managing their employee
healthcare and designing the most suitable corporate healthcare plan. Rather than managing claims and medical leaves through the traditional routine of paperwork, companies should automate these processes and adopt a more holistic approach when it comes to strategising their healthcare plans through benchmarking,” advises Chief Executive Officer of HealthMetrics, Mr. Alvin Yuan.

Additionally, fake Medical Certificates (MC) continue to plague Malaysia. According to the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), Malaysian employers suffer a staggering RM 2.9 billion of losses annually in overtime payments to workers who are replacing those on medical leave. On top of that, more than 57 percent of Malaysian employers claimed to have staff who they felt pretended to be sick in order to obtain MCs.

On that note, the top three reasons which employees fake sickness are not being in the mood to work, having to attend a job interview, and feeling burnt out.

As such employers need to adopt new approaches to employee healthcare to increase transparency between companies and their employees, enabling employers to gain valuable real-time insights into their employees’ healthcare needs while saving unnecessary costs.




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