Mercer Marsh Benefits Leader, Indonesia
Globally, 70% of insurers now offer or cover telemedicine services for simple health issues like a rash or cold, according to the latest MMB Health Trends report. Insurers in Indonesia are keeping up with the trend as employers across the country increasingly demand digital health solutions as a main requirement in insurance bidding, often specifically seeking cashless telemedicine solutions that facilitate direct deductions from insurance limits.
This trend is primarily driven by the high uptake of Indonesia’s national health tech initiatives during COVID-19, which has proved viable in addressing the relatively low ratio of medical doctors to population in the country. Insurers, in response to employers’ concerns over health effects of the pandemic on the workforce, have established robust partnerships with digital health providers. For instance, one digital health app provider connects its users to remote online consultations with over 20,000 doctors and provides dispensary services.
Looking ahead, we are implementing value-added digital health solutions such as telehealth capabilities in health plan design. Partnering with MMB, employers can seek to leverage Indonesia’s competitive insurance marketplace and curate ‘safe work environment’ initiatives that can help facilitate negotiations with insurers regarding improved limits and scope of coverage — including the key employer priority of incorporating COVID-19 vaccination expenses into their health group insurance programs.
Another digital health solution that is increasingly in demand by employers is e-claim submissions, which significantly reduces the administrative burden of the claims process. Although only a handful of insurance partners in Indonesia offer this right now, we will continue to see improvements in this area this year. What is worth noting is that insurers who have already enabled softcopy e-claim submissions are further increasing their limit (i.e. the maximum claim amount that can be claimed via e-claim).
While COVID-19 remains at the forefront of employers’ minds in Indonesia, there is a need for them to more comprehensively understand the utility of Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and their holistic benefits, as well as how best to promote EAPs to their employees.
If designed and implemented well, EAPs can create a work environment that is conducive to managing cost while effectively promoting physical and mental health through a preventive lens — including reducing the health risks associated with long COVID. EAPs also give employers a constructive avenue to address mental health risk in a society that tends to deprioritise the topic.
Working with MMB, employers can work towards a mental health care strategy that addresses the full care continuum — including resource hubs, dialogue sessions with experts, and flexible benefit inclusions as part of EAP design. Coverage terms and limits can also be optimised to encourage employees to focus more on mental wellness.
For physical wellness, employers that depend on medical check-ups to reduce health risks should transition to a more proactive approach, rather than giving a lump sum allowance for an employee to undergo a check-up, which according to our utilisation data has typically elicited a poor response. Employers should instead partner with a healthcare provider and make the necessary arrangements for employees to get the check-up done.
Aside from the importance of promoting a healthy lifestyle within the organization, employers should also ensure they maintain regular and continuous communications about the benefit programs to ensure employees understand what their benefits mean to them and their family members.
This year, we expect COVID-19 to officially be regarded as endemic in Indonesia, which means standard insurance policies will start to cover it. With this change, the outlook for health insurance pricing and premium also becomes more challenging for employers. Upward pressures on pricing in 2022 is further driven by a rebound in loss ratio and healthcare costs in the previous year.
Coupled with significant medical inflation projected to be in the range of 10 to 15% annually, it is now timely for employers to start assessing their utilisation and claim ratio and prepare their budget and cost containment agendas. In doing so, it is important to not only focus on finding cheaper insurers, but to also take the insurer’s level of service into consideration with the help of a trusted consultant and broker.
Mercer Marsh Benefits Leader, Indonesia