Health insurance is now a necessary component of any corporate basket of benefits. However, Insurance is reactive in nature and can only help the employees' post-hospitalization and it does not play any role in helping the employee avoid health risks. The rise in the sedentary lifestyle and chronic disease conditions of employees led companies to a more holistic approach to health care management.
In the past few years though, the industry focus has shifted from providing reactive health care to preventive healthcare. Some of the new employee activities that have emerged from this include health camps, physiotherapy sessions, sports days and gym access. These are a few of the attractive new offerings and team-building exercises for modern-day employees.
But why has this shift taken place? Has it driven better performance or revenue for the company? Is it more viable in the long-term?
To find an answer to these questions, we must first understand the basic differences between preventive and reactive health care.
Preventive health care aims to ensure that employee health remains optimal. In order to do this, it prescribes multiple preventive actions such as vaccines, disease screening, changes in lifestyle diet, etc. The goal is to ensure that the employee is functioning at 100% health.
Reactive health care, on the other hand, is the more traditional and commonplace approach to health care in the corporate world. This is a health care plan aimed to react to illness and disease rather than prevent it. This is mostly achieved through health insurance, which takes care of a part of the employee’s costs when they are hospitalized. The aim is to ensure that the employee can return to work as soon as possible.
The study cited by Harvard Business Review illustrates that a six-month health program resulted in 57% high-risk employees (according to body fat, blood pressure, anxiety, and other measures) being converted to low-risk employees.
Furthermore, medical claim costs had declined by $1,421 per participant, compared with those from the previous year. A control group showed no such improvements.
This highlights both the employee wellness and revenue saving benefits of a preventive health care plan. With rising instances of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and other health disorders, it is becoming more and more important to provide health benefits to employees.
However, this health care process ought to be a continuous preventive measure. If an employee is slowly suffering due to an underlying condition, then they will not be working at 100% and are ultimately more likely to succumb to severe repercussions. Data-driven Employee wellness programs help prevent this, as opposed to simple health insurance, which only looks to remedy the situation when it’s already too late.
Preventive health care is already being widely adopted in other countries, and India is following suit.