Health insurance for employees: Why it's important
In many workplaces in the Philippines, comprehensive healthcare is already part and parcel of
the benefits enjoyed by employees with regular employment status. As the old adage goes,
“Healthy workers are happy workers,” and the good health of everyone in the office usually
means that office tasks are accomplished in a faster and more efficient manner.
Unfortunately, "many" doesn’t mean "all", and while comprehensive healthcare is
already built into the budgets of most companies, government offices, and schools, the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are more hard-pressed in issuing their staff health insurance.
Mostly neophytes in the business sector, with much fewer staff and significantly lower operating budgets, the MSMEs without healthcare coverage draw on the millennial labor pool by compensating with flexible office hours and possible flexibility in the choice of workplace. And while some employees put a lot of faith in the invincibility of their young health, it doesn’t make employee health any less of a concern as the news and our own social circles tell us repeatedly that young people are just as prone if not more to high blood pressure, heart disease, heat stroke, and other serious health problems.
It is important for MSMEs to invest in securing their staff’s health.
1. Every employee is important in the running of the MSME
Constrained as they are in providing staff with healthcare, MSMEs are ironically more dependent on their employees than big companies are. Counting less than a hundred staff for the whole business, MSMEs embody the idea that no staff member is disposable. While this certainly wins points for empowering employees and fostering a sense of accountability, this also means that the absence of an employee takes a toll on the workplace.
Given that MSMEs need all hands on board, especially in the early days, one employee on sick
leave means that the rest of the team has to pick-up the slack, while more than one sick employee may drive the staff to overwork and risk an increase in the number of sick employees. By contrast, the involvement of a staff member with a high profile project may mean that he/she
will constantly be consulted, even while sick, thereby delaying his/her recovery. All things considered therefore, providing healthcare coverage is likely less costly in the long run.
2. Keeping good employees means giving out good benefits
The common denominator of every workplace, regardless of field or size, is a determination to recruit the best. While applicants are famously embroiled in a battle royale over prestigious workplaces or their dream jobs, multinationals, high government offices, schools, and also start-up businesses and MSMEs fight a game of thrones for the industry’s best. While employers detail the qualifications they look for in employees, job candidates accept and decline job offers based on the employee benefits presented by potential employers.
At the top of this list, inevitably, is the workplace’s provision of a comprehensive healthcare coverage, which is the most immediate, and possibly the most expensive concern of potential
employees, especially as the combination of heat, pollution and the stress of the workplace and
the grueling commute makes everyone vulnerable to high medical costs. Certainly, many millennials accept jobs sans healthcare coverage, but many also see this as mere starter jobs taken for experience, eventually leaving to settle in a workplace, perhaps in the same field, that
offers better social and security benefits to its regular staff members.
3. Establishing yourself means building a good name
In the long-term, the goal of most MSMEs is to expand its business, or at the very least, to establish a credible name for itself even while remaining small. On both scores, cultivating a good name is very important and the relationship of the business with its employees plays a very important part. After all, the six degrees of separation between everyone, complemented by the power of social media ensures that with the click of a mouse, virtually everyone in the country will know which employee-friendly business should be patronized and which should be avoided.
The provision of a comprehensive healthcare coverage plays to the MSME’s advantage first by
identifying it as an employee-friendly workplace, distinguishing it from more frugal MSMEs, and
underscoring it as the business to be patronized. Elsewhere, providing healthcare whether in view of the business’ future expansion or to formalize its establishment sends a clear message that the MSME means business – this isn’t one of those small businesses that thrive for a year or two but lacks the roots and employee loyalty to survive, this small business is one that stays.
The good news for MSMEs is that securing the staff’s health no longer needs to cost big bucks. While Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) have previously catered largely to big companies with plenty of staff, most have already adapted to the changes in the marketplace, offering corporate health plans at competitive prices, and tailor-fitted to the specific health needs of the business and its staff members. More than that, platforms such as Maria Health index these HMOs and allow for a comparison of the plans and services that these HMOs offer, thereby making the task of providing employees with healthcare easier for the MSME.