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Business News/ Insurance / News/  Pride Month: Can an inclusive insurance policy help companies do more to protect the health of LGBTQAI+?
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Pride Month: Can an inclusive insurance policy help companies do more to protect the health of LGBTQAI+?

Poorly designed workplaces negatively impact the health of underrepresented groups such as LGBTQAI+ communities, people with disabilities, and women. A report by Plum suggests that companies should craft health insurance policies that work for all kinds of employees and their dependents.

Inclusive health insurance policies by companies in India  (Pixabay)Premium
Inclusive health insurance policies by companies in India (Pixabay)

 

In the competitive business landscape, prioritising employees’ welfare has become a key factor in attracting and retaining top talents. But poorly designed workplaces can negatively impact the health of employees, especially those who are underrepresented--LGBTQAI+ communities, people with disabilities, and women.

According to the report by Plum, a health insurance platform, acceptance for queer communities in the workplace is still in a nascent stage. People from the LGBTQAI+ communities are still witnessing discrimination including while renting houses, seeking jobs, getting insurance covers, opening bank accounts, etc.

Nation Human Rights Commission's 2018 report highlighted that 96% of trans persons were denied jobs while 92% were denied participation in any economic activity. Additionally, policy terms such as HIV, Oral chemotherapy, mental health, maternity, and LGBTQAI coverage are not covered in the majority of the scenarios at workplaces.

"Diversity and inclusion are not about these (gender, sexuality, disabilities, etc) identities, it's a lot about who you are, where and how you can treat people and behave. What needs to happen is that you look at understanding who your workforce is and ask who is missing, not being seen, not being heard," Madhumita Venkataraman.

Plum suggests companies craft health insurance policies that work for all kinds of employees and their dependents. According to Plum, for the LGBTQAI+ community, the policy should involve (gender reassignment, mental health, option for live-in partner coverage, and surrogacy)"

In India, gender reassignment surgeries cost anywhere between 2 lakh to 5 lakh for males and 4 lakh to 8 lakh for females. According to Plum, India's insurance penetration is just 4.2%, and pocket health expenses are 47% of the total health expenditure. " Insurance coverage for elective surgeries is even more minuscule," the report said.

"A bad work culture impacts every employee and certain historically underrepresented groups suffer the most," Harish Iyer, Equal Right Activist.

In the case of women staff, the representation is also abysmally low. According to Sebi's regulation, all listed companies need to have at least one woman as their board member. However, Excellent Enabler's survey of 100 listed Indian firms found that only 27% of firms have two or more independent women directors; 61% of companies have only one independent woman director while 12% have no woman director.

Dr Saundarya Rajesh, Founder of Avtar Group said, " Lack of diversity in leadership is one of the reasons behind women still being left behind. When leaders in an organisation are predominantly male, the inclusion of women can go ignored".

Plum's report suggested that companies must include terms like (egg freezing covers, IVF, maternity-related complications, and surrogacy) for women staff.

COMPANIES THAT ARE PLAYING PROGRESSIVE ROLES:

  • Meesho:

Meesho offers 30 weeks of maternity leaves which can be extended by a few months, or up to a year.

The startup also offers 30 days' leave for transitioning or gender reassignment surgery, covered under health insurance. The company's health insurance policy also includes terms like IVF and live-in partners.

  • WeWork India:

The company offers infertility coverage up to 1 lakh. The policy comprises egg harvesting, freezing, and surrogacy with maternity benefits. WeWork also claims to have gender-neutral washrooms in the office.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mansi Jaswal
I write about gender-related issues, women's rights, women empowerment, gender equality, women's health topics, and their wealth management. Also, profiling women who have fought all odds to make their own identities in their own rights. Before Mint, I worked at Business Today and Business Standard. I studied journalism at IIMC, Delhi. Got a story idea? Email me at mansi.jaswal@htdigital.in
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Updated: 01 Jun 2023, 09:53 PM IST
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