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What is Group Health Insurance?

The employees are the pillars of a company or an organisation. An employer does his best to attract the best employees and keep them intact...

The employees are the pillars of a company or an organisation. An employer does his best to attract the best employees and keep them intact with the organisation. These include paid leaves, paid vacations, team outings, gifts etc,. Along with this an employer can leverage some basic benefits like health insurance coverage and organising wellness programs for employees. Offering group health insurance plans can build a sense of safety and keep the employees motivated towards the long term goals.Group health insurance or corporate health insurance plans provide health insurance coverage to the members or the employees of a company or organisation. These are purchased as employee benefit packages  by the employer.

What makes a Group health insurance plan different?

In group health insurance, the insurer’s risk is spread among the fellow policy holders, as a result of which the members receive it at reduced premium costs compared to individual health insurance plans. Hence making them affordable and cheaper than individual plans available on the market.  Also differences like-insurers, plan types, costs, and terms also exist between them.A Group health insurance premium policy can provide maternity coverage to pre-existing diseases coverage. Apart from these they also cover a variety of diseases.

How does Group Health Insurance work?

The companies and organizations purchase these Group health insurance plans and offer it to its members or employees. A 70% participation by group members is mandatory for purchasing these group plans.  In most cases, Group health insurance policy covers not only the employee but also family members like dependent parents, spouse and the children. This coverage is provided as long as these employees are part of the company or organization.

Tax deductions for a Health Insurance premium plan

A win-win situation for the employee and employer is created as some of the plan creates eligibility to get tax deductions under the Income Tax act. Tax deductions for health insurance premium paid by the individuals come under the Section 80D of the Income Tax Act.For an insurance premium paid for self, spouse and dependent children an individual can claim a deduction of Rs 25,000.Also, an additional deduction on health insurance up to Rs 25,000  for parents’ are applicable  if the parents are less than 60 years of age. When the age is more than 60 years, the deduction benefit increases to Rs 50,000.If both individual and parents are 60 years or above, the maximum deduction available under this section goes up to Rs 1 lakh.

Group Health Insurance during Covid

In the current situation, especially as the world is fighting a Covid-19 pandemic, health insurance has become the need of the hour. As a result the government has made the group health insurance for the employees mandatory as a part of COVID operating guidelines.In the recent Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI) circular, it states that "Reference is invited to Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I (A) dated 15th April 2020 issued as part of the Consolidated Revised Guidelines by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), GOI. As per the said order, inter alia; the following are stipulated:All industrial and commercial establishments, workplaces, offices etc. shall put in place arrangements for the implementation of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) before starting their functioning. As per clause no. 5 of Annexure - II of the said SOP for social distancing for offices, workplace, factories and establishments, medical insurance for the workers to be made mandatory, as per the circular”In this circular, the insurers have been advised to offer comprehensive health insurance policies to individuals or groups to enable the organisations to fall in with the Government’s directions. Also the regulatory board has advised that these comprehensive health insurance plans be created with simple wordings and conditions and at an affordable cost for the stated organisations.It is noted that under Covid-19 coverage a variety of Insurance providers cover hospitalization charges, treatment expenditure, ICU expenses and many more.

To wrap it up

Group health insurance or corporate health insurance policies are purchased as employee benefit packages  by the employer. The cost of the premium is much lesser in  the Group Health Insurance policy when compared to an Individual health Insurance policy. This is because the insurer’s risk is spread among the fellow policy holders. In the current Covid-19 pandemic era a Group Health Insurance policy can cover from hospitalization to treatment for Covid-19 which can make an employee be less worried about him and the family and focus on the long term goals of the company.

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