Looking after employees’ health and wellbeing has increasingly been top of agenda for many companies. A sound, holistic health plan for an organisation’s employees has always been essential, and with the ongoing impact of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever.  At the 2020 Health Forum held on 9 October 2020, Mercer had discussed these topics with benefits and wellness program providers, including AIA, AXA, Bupa, April, FWD, Liberty Insurance, Quality Healthcare, Generali, and Sun Life.



How can HR put a compelling case forward for mental health plans when many companies have had business challenges and are looking at an uncertain year ahead? It might seem counterintuitive, but now is the exactly the time to invest in your employees’ wellbeing, including mental wellbeing.


As we had shared the key findings from the 2020 Hong Kong Employee Health and Benefits Report, medical inflation (2020 actual vs 2021 projection) – there is a downward trajectory of 2021 medical inflation for both Inpatient and Outpatient.



  • 2020 Actual: Inpatient = 10%
  • 2021 Projection: Inpatient = 9%
  • Outpatient


  • 2020 Actual: Outpatient = 8.5%
  • 2021 Projection: Outpatient = 6%
  • The business case for benefits in tough financial times


    Attracting and retaining talent provide a clear rationale for benefits plans and increased costs. Several studies also suggest that benefits are a critical enabler of organisational success in today’s dynamic environment. 

    The more varied the health and well-being resources an employer offers, the more workers feel energised and supported – and the less likely they are to leave their employer. They also more resilient and more ready to reskill. And employers are beginning to take notice.


    That said, the COVID-19 pandemic has put cost management into sharp focus, with lockdowns, business interruption and the associated economic slowdown putting business finances under significant pressure.

    So how do employers balance economics and empathy to provide health programmes that are meaningful, but also maximize return on investment?


    The three key strategies for balancing costs and employee satisfaction are:


    1. Design for value: Through coverage provisions, network configuration and employee engagement.

    2. Manage the health risk: Through a data-driven approach that promotes a healthy workforce.

    3. Drive efficiencies: Through smart financing and placement.

    However, to bend the curve, companies need multipronged and multi-year strategies that address these three points simultaneously. At the same time, companies should be looking at a variety of vendors that can support the effective delivery of interventions. This may require short-term expenditure – for instance, investing in digital technologies.


    “The days when employers could rely on a one-size-fits all approach are ending, with employees progressively requiring and employers offering more personalized benefits,” says Richard Roper, Mercer’s Health business leader for Hong Kong. “Organisations have an opportunity to rethink employee benefits and wellness as they rethink the way they work.


    Rising demand for digital delivery


    COVID-19 is transforming the way employees view benefits plans and accelerating demand for innovation and digital services. Exploration of virtual care, both to contain medical costs and to encourage consumer-based behaviour, is increasingly turning to execution. The sixth annual, MMB Health Trends: 2020 Insurer Survey (formerly known as Medical Health Trends Around the World survey), found an increase in the number of insurers offering virtual health consultations, or “telemedicine” with 47% in Asia, saying it was an active part of their current approach to plan management, up from 32% in 2019.  Furthermore, 47% of insurers in Asia now cover preventive health initiatives, such as screenings, with an additional 22% indicating they are experimenting or have developed plans to initiate this within the next 24 months.

    New applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in medical care can also further support overburdened doctors, ease operational bottlenecks and better match patients with suitable, high-quality health providers.

    No matter where you are on the digitalisation journey, and irrespective of your business strategies and needs, there are opportunities for change and transformation. As the labour market evolves and technology becomes more advanced and more available, companies should look at the digital design and delivery of benefits to attract and retain the workforce of the future.

    Want to know more?


    Contact our consultant for further details of the webinar.  You can also find the resources what was shared in the forum below.


    Speak with a Consultant