If you are reading this article, then you must be someone who understands the value of good health and the importance of insuring it. After all, without a healthy body and mind nothing is possible. With good health, you can live a happy and fulfilling life with your family, friends, and co-workers.
Most of us are aware of health insurance and debate about which policy to take at some point in our lives. But, do you know the benefits of having a “group” health insurance? Before we get into that, you must first understand what a group health insurance is.
What is Group Health Insurance?
A “group” health insurance is an insurance policy that covers the healthcare costs of a specifically demarcated group of people.
Now, what are the defining parameters of “group” in such health insurance schemes?
A group may be formed by an employer for his employees, the head of an employees’ union for its members, the managing head of a social, cultural or professional association, a managing member of a community, etc. Such groups may also comprise alumni of an institution or a large family. Such a group must be formed as per the group insurance guidelines set by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA).
If you are the head of any such group, you may look up group health insurance plans online and choose from a wide range of policies available on various websites, offering comparative information on benefits of plans provided by different individual organizations.
You will notice that they are all similar in two aspects, i.e., they provide more or less the same benefits to all members of a group and the risks involved are distributed evenly across the entire group.
What Are Its Advantages?
Since a group insurance is best suited for a company or organization, let us study them from an employer-employee perspective.
- Building employee morale: With the cost of medical treatment rising everyday across the globe, a corporate health coverage is seen by employees as an added benefit by their employer. This facility not only attracts more employees, but also ensures a higher retention rate. Since such group policies also cover healthcare costs of employees’ families, it cultivates a sense of loyalty towards the company.
- Lower costs: Group Health Insurance policies can be bought at much cheaper rates when compared to individual coverage plans. Sometimes, an employee does not even have to pay anything. In other cases, both employee and employer pay a nominal premium for the health coverage of each individual member. Since, such policies are bought in bulk, the insurer often gives special discounts and offers.
- Flexible payment options: A company can choose to pay the premiums annually, quarterly, or on a monthly-basis.
- Tax benefits: Company employers get tax benefits on a group health insurance by means of reduction in tax liability.
- No medical check-up needed to enroll: The moment a person becomes an employee of a company that offers health coverage, he or she falls under the group insurance. No medical documentation is required to get enrolled under the policy.
- Support to members with no individual coverage: Employees who don’t have a health coverage, owing to lack of funds or non-eligibility, can get support from their corporate health insurance.
- Maternity coverage: An expecting mother does not have to worry about maternity costs. It is entirely covered by the insurer on an immediate basis.
- No waiting period: In case of group health insurance, there is no waiting period. So, illnesses like heart diseases or diabetes are also covered from the very beginning.
- No pre-existing ailment clause: Unlike individual insurance, there are no such clause that denies you treatment for a pre-existing health issue.
- Employees’ family avails benefits: This is a big help to employees whose families are not covered by individual health insurance. This puts an employee’s mind at ease and helps him perform better.
There are some limitations…
There are, however, a few limitations to a group health insurance.
- Coverage ends along with your employment: This is usually the case with any privately owned company. The moment you retire or resign from the company, you and your family are no longer covered under the policy you held during your employment.
- Employer may take back/reduce coverage: This is especially true to most companies in India. The company can, at any point, inform you that “due to cost-cutting, we are lowering your group health insurance cover”. This may mean your parents are no longer covered or that you may have to bear the entire cost.
- Company policy determines everything: There is no option of customizing the policy as per individual health requirements. The company chooses all the parameters. Period.
So, when you are ready to buy a group health insurance plan online, keep all these points in mind and make a well-informed decision.