Hong Kong Employers Are Providing More Health Benefits But Worry About Rising Costs

Employers in Hong Kong are providing more health benefits than ever before, in order to attract and retain talent, according to Mercer’s “Hong Kong Employee Health and Benefits Survey 2015."

However, the majority (86%) of surveyed companies are concerned about increasing medical costs. Over half of respondents (57%) are seeking cost-containment measures, including implementation of a panel arrangement (55%) and providing wellness programs (55%).

The survey revealed an increase in the number of companies providing maternity, dental and medical check-up benefits to employees over the past four years. Reflecting prevailing health trends, more companies are now providing critical illness benefits, with an increase from 4% in 2014 to 10% in 2015.

Dependent coverage is also becoming more common in Hong Kong. For outpatient, inpatient, and dental benefits, almost 70% of companies provide coverage to dependents and around 95% of those companies provide equal coverage to dependents and employees.

“Employers want to provide their employees with the right mix of benefits to achieve both market competitiveness and employee satisfaction. However, this has created a financial burden in the form of rising medical costs,” says Eva Liu, Business Development Head, Employee Health & Benefits, Mercer.

“Rather than comparing quotes from numerous insurance service providers to drive down prices, companies are looking for more sustainable ways to ease that burden,” she adds.

In particular, many companies have realized the need to have Employee Wellness Programs, with the number implementing such programs rising from 39% in 2014 to 55% in 2015.

“There are many different types of Employee Wellness Programs around and companies need to look at their employee needs to design the best program. For example, companies with an ageing population may offer health seminars around diabetes or high blood pressure. Progressive companies have realized that “one-size-fits-all” is not good enough to win the war for talent and they look for professional advice to help analyze their employee data to tailor the most suitable programs,” added Liu.

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