Provisions made by many private Vietnamese companies to vaccinate employees against Covid-19 were both commendable and necessary. The drive also started an important conversation about caring for employee wellness in the post-pandemic world. But despite having made adequate health cover their priority, many bosses still get group private medical insurance (PMI) wrong. Here’s why.

Paul James Thompson, an Independent Financial Planner at Infinity Financial Solutions, a leading provider of expat financial services in Southeast Asia, reports an unfortunate uptick in the number of companies handing out “insurance shopping cash” to employees. Such thinking not only leads to wasteful spending, but it is in fact harmful to the very people it is meant to protect. “Many workers find the process of choosing the right policy overwhelming, as PMI policies are complex and modular,” explained Thompson. “Some end up buying the wrong product, while others keep kicking the can down the road indefinitely and remain uninsured.”

A smarter solution is Group PMIs. They offer peace of mind; can gain tax relief on the premium, as it can be classed as a business expense; and, thanks to spreading the insurer’s risk across a group of policyholders, considerably reduce cost per employee compared to cash handouts. On top of that, speaking to a market broker can often uncover additional benefits. Experts at Infinity Financial Solutions, for example, will independently review the whole insurance market to see what solution works best for you (and repeat the process the following year at renewal time), negotiate the best possible premium with the provider on your behalf and actively manage all aspects of the policies, freeing up time for HR to concentrate on other areas of their job.

Once you’ve switched to a Group PMI, both the team’s morale and productivity get an instant booster shot. The effect is seen and felt on the bottom line too: reduced cost of sickness absence, as insured employees get priority treatment at top-tier hospitals and get back on their feet faster. “But it’s more than simply jumping the medical queue. As part of a remuneration package, it’s a compelling way to attract and retain the best talent in Vietnam,” said Thompson.

He has a point. Even before the pandemic people were putting a premium on having healthcare as a workplace benefit; study after study showed that the most appreciated employee perk, beating both holiday entitlement and a pension, is health insurance. Given the state of the world today, health will remain a top priority for employees. And because Group PMI cover can often be extended to family, the solution serves as an excellent recruitment, motivation and retention tool, especially when it comes to attracting experienced employees with dependents.

Regardless of the industry, being perceived as a caring employer can only be achieved by demonstrating the value you place on the health of your team members. Provision of medical insurance is, beyond doubt, the most significant and meaningful way companies can do that. [C]

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