Editor’s Note: ‘Employee Benefits: Getting the biggest bang for your buck‘ is. a guest article by the Bowtie team.
With the ongoing economic impact of COVID-19 and the unemployment rate at a 16-year high at 7%1, many companies that are still standing are looking into cost-cutting solutions. In situations like these, one of the budgets that companies often drop is employee benefits. Unfortunately, reducing employee benefits can yield far-reaching effects on employee morale, motivation, and productivity. It also impedes a company’s ability to take on the challenge of recruiting and retaining talent. Before making the cut, why not first rethink how to spend the employee benefits budget more wisely?
According to Glassdoor Economic Research2, the number one benefit that matters most to employees is health insurance. Most companies recognise this; hence, they offer fixed health insurance plans to their employees or a tiered plan based on employee seniority. But one size rarely fits all, as not everyone in the company needs the same amount of coverage.
Diversify to maximize employee benefits
While not all employees need the same level of health benefits, they still need a minimum level of protection. A good question to ask is “What are the ‘must-haves’ for your employees?” This list would make up the protection base or “Baseline” in the employee health insurance plan that will be offered to all across the company. With the basic needs well covered, there is now room for employees to choose their preferred health benefit using the remaining budget. This is the “Flexible” part of the employee benefit. Together, “Baseline” and “Flexible” portions make up the employee health benefits package.
Ideally, the baseline protection is sufficient for all employees and should be affordable. But how does one determine this? That depends on each company’s current situation and needs, with reference to the existing personal health coverage available in the market.
Personal health insurance
In the personal health insurance market, Bowtie offers a range of products at competitive premium rates due to:
- No savings element of its products,
- Absence of insurance intermediaries and
- Innovative technology that greatly reduces operational costs.
It’s worth noting that the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) Standard is government-approved and offers basic protection. The Standard plan premiums are highly competitive. For example, the monthly premium for VHIS Standard Plan for a 20-year-old male non-smoker from Bowtie is only $94 – the lowest among all providers3.
Group health insurance
Recently, Bowtie also launched its Group Insurance Plans. This only costs as low as $10 a month and offers discounted unlimited outpatient visits and dental benefits. There are three levels of coverage options with annual health check-up4 and up to $50,000 inpatient and day-case procedure benefits per policy year4. Thanks to modern tech and streamlined operations, we keep Bowtie’s premiums to a minimum while we maximize your benefits; all to protect your company and employees without breaking the bank.
The flexible portion of the employee health benefits is more complicated and wide-ranging. From annual body checks to preventative care such as vaccinations to office-held medical knowledge sharing by a Chinese doctor or acupuncturist, the sky is the limit when it comes to the flexible benefit options.
One growing trend in employee health benefits is vision care. The American Optometric Association raised concerns over the increased vision issues due to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic5. Employees spend 6-8 hours staring at their computer screen a day, if not more, amidst remote work and virtual meetings. But working in front of a screen for long periods can cause eye strain, dryness in the eyes, and even blurred vision.
Vision care is a common employee benefit in Western countries. It is fast becoming an essential part of employee health and wellness everywhere. That is why Bowtie has partnered up with Optical 88 and launched BowtieVision last year; this partnership offers affordable, comprehensive preventative and medical coverage for eye care. The standard plan includes comprehensive eye examination and the upgraded plan includes added benefits such as reimbursements for glasses and contact lenses.
No pain, no gain with flexible employee benefits
Flexibility can drive increased employee satisfaction, but it also comes with its challenges and considerations. One area of burden is the added strain for HR resources to source, implement and execute diverse wellness benefit options for staff. Employees can also source and select their preferred therapies under the flexible wellness option directly, however, the tax implications on the benefit payments to employees is another issue in itself.
Despite these pain points, only with “Baseline” plus “Flexible” combination can staff opt for their preferred selections. This helps employees wisely utilise corporate’s resources. In this case, employers can reduce expenditure on unused coverages amid the current adverse economic conditions.
For more information on Bowtie insurance and wellness products for Hong Kong companies, give us a call at +852 3008 8123 or leave us your question here.
Bowtie Life Insurance is an authorised life insurance company. It is also Hong Kong’s very first virtual insurer approved by the Insurance Authority of Hong Kong. Backed by Sun Life Financial and leading international investors, Bowtie offers commission-free insurance plans to customers directly. This is done via modern technology and fully end-to-end digital platform. Bowtie provides a range of health insurance and wellness program to both individuals and corporate clients, e.g. Bowtie Group Insurance, Bowtie Vision, and BowtieGo membership. The Bowtie team comprises insurance industry veterans, medical doctors, Senior Advisors, and former Financial Secretary, John Tsang. For more information on Bowtie, please visit our website www.bowtie.com.hk.