Do Remote Workers Need Health Insurance?
Remote work has continued to grow in popularity in recent times but the perks associated with remote work do not seem to be getting the same attention. Health insurance is one of those coveted benefits we explore in this article.
Remote workers are expected to double over the course of the next five years 1 and this development is set to see increasing worker demands in terms of employee benefits. One area that is ripe for development is the matter of health insurance for remote workers.
What are some of the chief options companies can look at when exploring health insurance? Read on to learn more.
Is Health Insurance Really Necessary for Remote Workers?
Competition for jobs remains fierce in the job market, and many businesses struggle to determine the right mix of employee benefits.
While it is in the interest of companies to keep employment-related costs low, companies that do not remunerate accordingly risk losing out on a shrinking pie of top-tier talent.
Chief among this list of benefits is health insurance, which some consider to be among the most important benefit an organisation can offer to its employees.
A recent survey by Building Remotely revealed that nearly 60% of remote workers would take up the option of insurance if their employer offered it as a choice 2. This shows that health insurance is a popular option among the laundry list of benefits employers could provide.
4 Health Insurance Options & Alternatives
1. Traditional Health Insurance
Possibly the most traditional route of obtaining insurance for remote workers is through brick-and-mortar insurance providers. However, traditional health insurance companies may not have the extensive policy framework to be able to cover remote working contingencies and companies would need to do their due diligence to ensure adequate cover for its employees.
2. Remote Worker Health Insurance
Dubbed as ‘specialised insurance’ for remote workers and digital nomads, remote worker health insurance provides amenable coverage plans, online access channels and user friendliness when considered with their more traditional insurance peers. This is probably the ultimate solution for individual remote workers due to its ease of use and simple to understand policies.
3. Health Stipends
Health stipends are a popular option for companies when it comes to health insurance for remote workers. Many employers favour this popular option as it helps many companies avoid legal and tax implications. In some countries, providing formal insurance plans for workers would reclassify them as employees and incur tax implications for companies.
4. Local partners or PEOs
Teaming up with a local partner is another way of providing remote worker health insurance when you don’t have the resource, expertise or desire to deliver directly. This is where on-the-ground research into panel clinics or knowledge of PEO providers can help you determine a health insurance plan that is just right for your organisation.
Organisations like PEOs do sometimes provide health benefits. This is in addition to a string of HR-related services such as payroll, onboarding and benefits administration.
Determining what is best for your company and employees
Now that we’ve discussed what options are available to employers in providing health insurance, employers would need to communicate with their employees to determine what is the best course of action moving forward.
By providing an open forum to discuss health insurance options, employers show their genuine care and concern for their employees. This results in greater job satisfaction not to mention lower turnover rates of remote working employees.