unning a business is no easy task. Among the most difficult tasks is hiring and managing employees. One of the main ways to attract professionals, in addition to a good salary and a prospect of career progression, is to offer health insurance.

Your company's employees need support to feel motivated and achieve good results. In this article by ComparaJá, you will learn about the advantages of offering health insurance to your employees and how you can choose the best option. Investing in your team today can help your company thrive in the future.

How important is it to offer health insurance?

When choosing a job or reflecting on one's happiness at work, there are generally several factors to consider. Salary add-ons, such as extra holiday days or health insurance, are always welcome, and may even be a factor for choosing one job over another. Just after salary, health insurance is one of the most valued and recognised fringe benefits.

By being covered by health insurance, professionals perceive that the company values the work they do. Employees see health insurance as a social benefit that incentivises them to do their best. An employee who feels that their well-being is important to their employer feels part of the company. They feel more motivated, produce more and better, and feel happier at work.

Employees with health insurance are more likely to undergo routine check-ups and medical follow-up, reducing absenteeism due to illness. Faster access to the private health network and the peace of mind of receiving care for themselves (and, if applicable, other family members) are additional benefits.

What are the upsides for the company?

Offering health insurance to your employees brings several advantages, both indirect (e.g. in productivity) and direct (e.g. in the form of tax deductions). According to the Portuguese Corporate Income Tax Code (IRC), expenses resulting from health insurance contracts for the benefit of employees or their families are considered expenses of the tax period, up to a limit of 15% of personnel expenses.

To benefit from this tax incentive, your company must grant health insurance to all employees, following an objective and uniform rule for all, even if they do not belong to the same professional class. Differences can only occur if stipulated by collective labour regulation instruments, such as a company agreement.

It is important to explore the functionality and quality of the digital services offered by insurance companies, and seeing how they can fit into the benefits offered to your employees. Online platforms and apps like Coverflex make your day-to-day life easier by enabling you to manage your employees' health insurance and flexible benefits.

Decisive factors in choosing which health insurance to offer

Each company has the flexibility to offer health insurance to employees on a personalised basis, taking into account the particularities of the company, team size and, of course, budget. Consider the cost of the health insurance in relation to the value perceived by employees, looking for a balance between price and the coverage offered.

There are insurances suitable for every company profile, from micro companies to multinationals. The coverage, benefits and values are negotiable and adaptable. It is common for companies to obtain increased discounts as the number of insured employees increases, and this bargaining power increases if the insurance can also cover the employees' family members.

We list below the main decisive factors when choosing the health insurance to offer to employees.

Have capital limits appropriate to the employee's needs

This is the limit of expenses that each employee will have available for the covers specified in the policy, on an annual basis. Health insurance capital limits can vary significantly based on the policy specifications, the insurance company, and the type of coverage chosen. Some common examples of capital limits in health insurance include:

Capital limit for out-patient treatment: sets the maximum amount covered for medical consultations, examinations and treatments carried out on an out-patient basis (outside the hospital environment). Capital limit for medicines: sets the maximum amount the insurer will reimburse for prescription drug costs.

  1. Capital limit for hospitalisation: sets the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for in-patient hospitalisation costs over a given period, usually one year.
  2. Capital limit for out-patient treatment: sets the maximum amount covered for medical consultations, examinations and treatments carried out on an out-patient basis (outside the hospital environment).
  3. Capital limit for medicines: sets the maximum amount the insurance company will reimburse for prescription drug costs.

It is essential to check the health insurance policy to clearly understand the capital limits for each cover and ensure that they meet the needs and expectations of your employees.

Negotiate grace periods as much as possible

Waiting periods are usually established to prevent insured persons from claiming reimbursements immediately after joining the insurance, which may create risks for the insurance company. It is common to have grace periods of 60 to 90 days for certain covers. Specifically for childbirth coverage, the waiting periods are usually longer (one year on average). However, it is important to note that the waiting periods apply only to situations of illness or pregnancy, and accidents are covered from the first day of the policy.

Pay attention to the age limits of permanence

Most group policies negotiated for companies allow all employees to join, regardless of age. However, it is common for the insurance company to set age limits, usually coinciding with retirement age.

Before choosing the health insurance to offer your employees, it is essential to check the specific policy so that you clearly understand the age limits for permanence and how they may affect coverage. Some insurance companies may also offer additional options or plans to extend coverage beyond these limits, but conditions can vary significantly, so it is important to analyse the detailed information provided by the insurance company.

Offer good mental health cover

At a time when burnout and depression are two of the most common problems in the labour market, it is important to offer health insurance with adequate mental health cover. Most insurance companies and health insurances claim to cover psychological or psychiatric counselling sessions, but in fact these coverages can be misleading. Clarify with the insurance company what type of mental health coverage is included in the health insurance before taking out the insurance.

Consider other specific health insurance coverage

The specific health insurance coverage most valued by employees may vary according to individual needs and preferences. However, some of the most appreciated and popular include outpatient coverage (such as physiotherapy, acupuncture and alternative therapies), capital reinforcement coverage in case of serious illness, and dental coverage.

Conducting interest surveys among employees can be an effective way to determine which coverages are most valued by your team. Choose an insurance plan that allows flexibility to customise coverage according to the specific needs of the company and employees.

Give the possibility to extend the insurance to close family members

Many companies choose to give the employee the option of extending the health insurance offered by the company to close family members. Offering this possibility demonstrates that the company values its employees not only as professionals, but also as individuals with families and personal responsibilities.

This choice usually offers the company a greater negotiation leverage with the insurance company, not only by expanding the number of people insured, but also by diluting the risk related to illnesses, since the members of the household include people of different age groups.

In practice, the company offers the employee the option of taking out health insurance with very attractive rates and advantageous coverages, at a price that it would be difficult to negotiate outside the company sphere.

Which health insurances are available on the market?

Most insurances are a combination of reimbursement and network, although it is possible to negotiate simpler versions. In the reimbursement option, the insured person can choose any healthcare provider on the market for treatments and consultations. After the expense, which is covered by the employee her/himself, the employee is reimbursed by the insurance company for a part of it, as defined in the policy.

If the employee can choose the contracted network, they pay only a part of the expense at the time (e.g. €15 for a speciality consultation). The insurance company pays the service provider directly afterwards. With this type of health insurance, it is possible to negotiate with the insurance company the maximum amount available for each type of cover. Usually, the option of a contracted network or health insurance with a combination of both types is preferred by employees, as it is much more convenient and there is no need to pay an upfront amount at the time of the medical act.

It is essential to choose the best health insurance option to meet the specific needs of your team. Comparing different insurances and insurance companies can help you find the most suitable solution for your company and your employees.

Investing in the well-being and health of your team is not only an altruistic move, but also a smart strategy for long-term business success. By cultivating a culture of care and support for employees, the company is building a positive environment that is favourable to everyone's personal and professional growth. Therefore, by considering the benefits of offering employees health insurance, the company is investing in its own future, preparing to thrive and reach new heights of success.