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Photo: iStockphoto

40% employer programs don’t offer counselling: Mercer Marsh Benefits research

A new research by Mercer Marsh Benefits, Marsh & McLennan Companies' international employee benefits business, shows that medical costs of private plans are rising almost three times inflation in most major economies

Adopting integrated health and well-being strategies underpinned by stronger digital and data capabilities will be a critical factor in managing the rising costs of workforce health benefit programs. The advice comes as new research by Mercer Marsh Benefits, Marsh & McLennan Companies’ international employee benefits business, shows that medical costs of private plans are rising almost three times inflation in most major economies.

Mercer Marsh Benefits’ 2018 Medical Trends Around the World surveyed 225 insurers across 62 countries. The survey indicates that employers have an opportunity to better manage healthcare costs and improve outcomes. According to insurers, only 14% of companies are offering to a very large extent preventive lifestyle programs for staff.

While mental health is now cited as the third highest risk, employers are not responding effectively with close to 40% of insurers indicating that employer plans give no access to counselling. Employers are encouraged to adopt a whole system approach to well-being, in which mental health is recognised alongside physical health as one of the essential building blocks to help employees fulfil their potential

Further, employers and insurers will need to invest in digital and data capabilities with 1 in 6 insurers currently providing no digital claim capability today.

John Deegan, senior partner, Mercer Marsh Benefits said, “As health care costs become more material (outside the US), employers are questioning the intent and design of programs."

Edited excerpts from a report by Mercer Marsh Benefits

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