Corporate Wellness

See how to reduce employee health insurance costs

20 Mar 2017
Last updated on 1 Jun 2023

It is important to offer employees a good health insurance plan, although it may not be mandatory in many sectors. Such benefits bring peace of mind and allow employees to focus on the job, not to mention the motivation factor which attracts and retains talents.

Moreover, health is wealth. The wise saying makes sense, particularly in the corporate world. After all, employee quality of life reflects directly on productivity and in the excellence of production within organisations, impacting the business.

However, health insurance accounts for a significant share of a company’s budget. In its Corporate Benefits Annual Survey , consulting firm Marsher Mercer showed that the average cost of health insurance (per employee) in 2015 was BRL 224.15 — approximately 40% higher than the previous year.

The same survey also indicates that the total amount of such expenses accounts for nearly 12% of a company’s overhead. In times of recession, HR sectors face a true challenge in keeping balanced accounts while preserving the quality of services offered to employees.

Therefore, it is essential to seek alternative solutions and adopt measures to help control such expenses. Learn more about this in today’s article!

Management is paramount

To manage issues relating to corporate health insurance, human resources and health departments must be organized and adopt a result-oriented management approach.

That is because choosing a provider that offers lower prices will ultimately not be enough. Companies must have access to information on which to base diversified actions that will ultimately result in effective and positive changes to everyone.

And to devise such impacting plans, an accurate diagnosis must be attained first and foremost, including details of the benefit and employee profiles. Only then will companies be able to see some improvement in the cost-to-benefit ratio.

Prevention is always the best solution

The key element to control health-related costs is to invest in measures to promote quality of life. Thus, instead of merely providing care in the event of diseases, the company actively works on preventing such cases, ultimately mitigating the rate of health insurance usage.

It is essential to structure programmes aimed at employee well-being, and this may include several simple and effective initiatives that undoubtedly benefit the people and the business.

The first step may be promoting the practice of physical activity. Recent studies published by The Lancet, a British scientific journal, showed that the lack of physical activity costs USD 67.5 billion (BRL 220 billion) to the global economy every year — USD 58.8 bi in medical care and USD 13.7 bi in lost productivity.

On the other hand, exercising helps to significantly reduce the incidence of disease, ensuring employees feel more energetic and productive, both personally and professionally. For companies, partnerships withgyms are a great option in this regard. This will allow for customized physical activity plans in a faster and more practical manner, in line with the available budget.

Vaccination and healthy eating programmes, as well as emotional support and support to STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are among the actions that can be carried out by the health department. The most relevant thing is to find serious partners, those who work with experienced and qualified professionals, preferably in the corporate area.

Choose the copayment method for employee health insurance

An alternative to reduce health insurance costs is the copayment. This method allows the price of a visit to the doctor, medical tests or procedures to be shared between employee and company.

Although it is not the ultimate solution to budget problems, it makes it possible to maintain healthcare coverage and quality without increasing expenditures.

This billing modality may also educate the employee in the appropriate usage of the benefit, so that it is used properly and with parsimony.

Negotiate with your healthcare service provider

If changing the billing modality to include the copayment of medical tests and procedures as well as doctor’s visits, it is important that the terms under which this will happen are thoroughly discussed with the healthcare service provider.

As there are various forms of copayment, it will be possible to agree on a percentage that will maintain the quality of the service without harming the parties involved (employee and employer).

Take advantage of the economic downturn to negotiate and close more advantageous contracts, mainly if the number of company employees is high. An option would be to use different providers based on employee profile. For instance, one for those in remote areas and another for those who travel a lot, among others.

Encourage good judgement in the use of the benefit

Invest time in raising collective awareness among employees on the use of company’s health insurance resources. Through specific actions, reinforce adequate behaviour, such as attention to coverage and the use of a doctor’s return visit, which is of up to 20 days after the first one, as well as the importance of not allowing a third party to use the employee’s insurance card.

One should not forget that, as this is a collective benefit, when an employee uses insurance, all others end up paying for it. Therefore, it should be considered that an excessive number of consultations, tests and therapies may result in higher adjustments to monthly payments on the part of the healthcare provider.

As previously mentioned, certain things can lead to a decrease in healthcare expenses to employees and not affect the quality of the service provided. In such unstable times for the country’s economy, these actions ensure companies can keep the benefits and contribute to a boost in productivity and well-being in the work environment.

But, please remember: the most important thing is to create an organisational culture focused on prevention and health awareness. That will keep everyone healthy: employees and company.

How are the costs incurred with health insurance by your company? Engage in the discussion by sharing your comments with us! 🙂

What if you invested in a health benefit package for your employees?Contact us and learn all about physical activity plans for your company!


Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.