What should employers look for when buying a Group Health Insurance policy in India?
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Group health insurance is a type of health insurance aimed at providing medical coverage to a group of individuals. Also known as corporate health insurance, group insurance plans are a simple and cost-effective way for professional organisations to provide health insurance to their employees. This is especially beneficial when, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the government mandated all professional organisations to provide health insurance to their employees.  
 
However, whether it is due to the dozens of insurance providers, each with numerous different plans, or the varying needs of employees and industry, it is difficult to understand what employers should look for when purchasing a group health insurance policy in India.  
 
But worry not. This article can be a guide to understanding all you need to know when purchasing a group policy for your employees. 
 
What are the benefits of offering group insurance plans?
 
While some organisations might feel like providing health insurance to their employees is an additional expense or adds unnecessary complexities, it is essential to understand that offering the right group insurance plan may benefit not only the employees but also the organisation. 
 
Here are a few benefits of offering group health insurance:
 
Attracting and retaining talent
At a time when health risks are growing and medical expenses keep increasing, health insurance is a decisive factor in attracting and retaining talent in the organisation.
 
Boosting morale and productivity
When an employee doesn’t have to worry about their health or the financial impact of it, it can quickly boost morale and build a productive work environment. 
 
Ensuring financial security for the employees
As group plans are employer-sponsored, they can severely reduce the financial impact of medical and out-of-pocket expenses for the employee. 
 
Allowing tax benefits for the organisation
As insurance premiums are tax-deductible, they can reduce the tax burden on the organisation. 
 
Complying with the government mandate
Providing health insurance to employees is a mandatory requirement for professional organisations, keeping them in compliance with the government mandate.
 
What are some essential factors when buying a group health insurance policy?
 
Here are some essential factors that must be considered whenever purchasing an insurance policy: 
 
1. Assess your employee’s needs
The first step when purchasing a policy is to understand the needs of those covered. Assessing their needs and expectations can help in planning and negotiating a policy.
 
2. Check your organisation’s finances
Considering the organisation's finances before purchasing a policy is vital. Understanding the needs and separating the non-negotiables and good to have can help get a more cost-effective policy. 
 
3. Consult with several insurers
Consult with several insurers and insurance agents to understand the offerings and get the best value for money.
 
4. Assess the coverage options
Assessing the coverages provided under a policy can help determine which specific policy to choose and which to avoid. For example, it might be highly beneficial to opt for a policy with coverage for pre-existing diseases or one for dependents, etc. 
 
5. Cross-check the fine print
 It is also essential to check the fine print, such as waiting periods, deductibles, co-pays, etc., and be informed or choose a policy with better terms. 
 
How do you buy a group insurance policy?
 
 You can purchase a group insurance policy for your organisation in several ways. Here are three of the most common ways you can choose to do so:
 
Directly from an insurer
 Purchasing an insurance policy directly from an insurer can be beneficial in terms of both customisability and cost. It is possible to negotiate the needs and get a more specialised plan for the group’s requirements, which might not be possible otherwise.
 
Insurance broker
 Consulting with an insurance broker can help narrow choices and choose the best policy based on the organisation’s requirements. However, it is essential to note that brokers will charge brokerage fees for the policy.
 
Bancassurance
 This is a common way to purchase an insurance policy today. Under this model, insurers tie up with banks to provide comprehensive insurance policies to the bank’s customers, leading to a one-stop destination for financial needs. 
 
Conclusion
Several factors, like the needs of the employees, the needs of the industry, the cost of the policy, the coverages offered, and the fine print, among others, must be considered before buying a group policy.  Although there are still more things to know, this article can be a reference point and help you purchase the right policy for your organisation.  
 
 So follow it and buy the right insurance policy for the lifeblood of your organisation, the employees.  
 
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