Eighty-six per cent of Hong Kong employers concerned about rising medical costs, according to Mercer Survey

  • 22 March 2016
  • Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 59% of surveyed companies provide medical checkup benefits compared to 45% in 2012
  • 10% of surveyed companies provide critical illness benefits as compared to only 4% in 2014
  • A quarter (25%) of surveyed companies provide maternity benefits to their employees compared to 20% in 2012

According to Mercer’s “Hong Kong Employee Health and Benefits Survey 2015”, companies in Hong Kong are providing more health benefits than ever before, in order to attract and retain talent. However, the majority (86%) of surveyed companies are concerned about increasing medical costs. Over half of respondents (57%) are seeking cost-containment measures, including implementation of a panel arrangement (55%) and providing wellness programs (55%).

The survey revealed an increase in the number of companies providing maternity, dental and medical check-up benefits to employees over the past four years. Reflecting prevailing health trends, more companies are now providing critical illness benefits, with an increase from 4% in 2014 to 10% in 2015.

Dependent coverage is also becoming more common in Hong Kong. For outpatient, inpatient, and dental benefits, almost 70% of companies provide coverage to dependents and around 95% of those companies provide equal coverage to dependents and employees.

“Employers want to provide their employees with the right mix of benefits to achieve both market competitiveness and employee satisfaction. However, this has created a financial burden in the form of rising medical costs,” said Eva Liu, Business Development Head, Employee Health & Benefits, Mercer. “Rather than comparing quotes from numerous insurance service providers to drive down prices, companies are looking for more sustainable ways to ease that burden,” she added.

In particular, many companies have realized the need to have Employee Wellness Programs, with the number implementing such programs rising from 39% in 2014 to 55% in 2015.

“There are many different types of Employee Wellness Programs around and companies need to look at their employee needs to design the best program. For example, companies with an ageing population may offer health seminars around diabetes or high blood pressure. Progressive companies have realized that “one-size-fits-all” is not good enough to win the war for talent and they look for professional advice to help analyze their employee data to tailor the most suitable programs,” added Liu.

A total of 650 companies from 25 industries covering more than 180,000 employees participated in this survey, which Mercer has undertaken annually since 1987. The survey provides a snapshot of the employee benefits in 2015 and provides a comparative analysis of benefits trends over the past few years. 

Survey Methodology

Data was collected from the following sources:

  • Insurance policies and handbooks: Survey data was extracted from insurance policies, employee benefits handbooks, and other documents containing benefits details and associated reimbursement limits from the database of Mercer’s and Marsh’s existing and prospective clients.
  • Online questionnaire: A total of 109 employers responded to the online questionnaire on benefits costs and cost management, perception of the service received from providers, and their philosophy toward employee benefits.

About Mercer

Mercer is a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments. Mercer helps clients around the world advance the health, wealth and careers of their most vital asset – their people. Mercer’s more than 20,000 employees are based in 43 countries, and the firm operates in over 140 countries.  Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global professional services firm offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy, and people. With annual revenue of $13 billion and 57,000 colleagues worldwide, Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Marsh, a leader in insurance broking and risk management; Guy Carpenter, a leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services; and Oliver Wyman, a leader in management consulting. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer