Tenzing pacific services

The (Condensed) Ultimate Guide to
Employer Group Health Insurance
in Vietnam

Geoffrey Mann Tenzing

Companies and other organizations can sponsor health insurance for their employees. The process can be complicated but most of the potential decisions are outlined below.

Employer Group Health Plans can improve your bottom line

Employers that don’t include health insurance in their compensation packages are missing out on important and tangible benefits to their bottom line.

Employers that offer a robust benefits package consistently attract better candidates and retain them longer.

⦿ Increase productivity

Employees with good health coverage take fewer sick days and are more engaged with their work because they worry less about medical issues.

⦿ Tax advantages

The employer’s costs are generally deductible as business expenses; in some jurisdictions, the employee’s portion is also tax advantaged.

Wide range of options for group health insurance in Vietnam

Employers can choose from a wide range of policy features.

Simple to deluxe

 There are policies available for a wide range of budgets: on the lower end, a high-quality international plan from $500 per employee per year, or a stripped-down local plan for as little as $100; up to $5,000 or more for high-end coverage for older employees.

Discounts

Significant savings over individual pricing are available for groups. Bigger discounts for more participants is the rule.

Employees can help pay

You can provide (pay for) coverage or have employees pay, or a combination of the two.

Tiers

Generally, you can offer great coverage to your expats and executives, while providing scaled down coverage for rank and file.

One of the most attractive features of group health plans is the opportunity to cover pre-existing medical conditions, which private insurers generally won’t cover in Southeast Asia.

If you apply for individual insurance, a pre-existing heart condition will be excluded from your coverage, along with any associated conditions. Group health plans are the exception to this rule because their size allows the insurer to spread out its risk. With a group as small as 8 or 10, you can provide coverage for existing conditions that otherwise wouldn’t be available.

This kind of medical history disregarded (MHD) policy will typically cost a bit more, but is usually the only way to get some existing conditions covered.

Coverage area

Depending on the needs of the members, you can offer a plan that covers just your residence country, Southeast Asia or the world.

Inpatient coverage

All health insurance plans start by covering major accidents and illnesses that require hospitalization. This is the critical aspect of health insurance: protection from financial ruin if something terrible happens.

When adding outpatient benefits, you can expect to pay about double the cost of an inpatient-only plan. Outpatient visits are undoubtedly the most common type of visit; while the costs of outpatient services are much lower than inpatient, they’re also more likely to occur. Furthermore, when someone takes outpatient benefits, they tend to go to the doctor more than they normally would. Insurers know this, so premiums are higher.

Ultimately, the cost will depend on multiple variables such as your age, the exact benefits, coverage limitations, coverage area and more.

See our blog Outpatient vs Inpatient Health Insurance for more details.

Additional types of add-on coverage

Plans can usually be structured to offer other types of coverage, including

Outpatient. For day-to-day doctors’ visits, prescription medications, etc.
Dental. From annual check-ups to major surgeries
Maternity. From pre-natal care to delivery and complications

With most international providers, the baby is covered from the date of birth. With most local insurers, the baby can only be added to the plan after X number of days. For providers who only cover after X number of days (typically 15-60 days), there are usually exclusions for congenital conditions as well. Again, this is a way to limit their exposure and offer more attractive premiums.

From our blog Guide to Maternity Insurance in Vietnam.

Currency

Some providers require payment in the local currency and can provide a VAT invoice, while others require USD and can’t provide a VAT.

Periodic payments

Quarterly or even monthly payments are available from some providers.

Eligibility

 Some international policies are available only to expats.

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How group health insurance works

Understand your options

Talk with an advisor about these options, budget, what’s most important to you. You’ll receive a detailed quotation comparing features and costs. Follow up until you have everything you need to make a decision.

How to apply

 Complete an application form and provide details about employees (typically in a spreadsheet census). In some cases, there are additional requirements such as medical histories, payment forms, copies of corporate governance documents, etc.

Rollout

The insurance company can provide the materials you’ll want to use to inform and educate your staff about their new benefits. Insurance cards can be mailed directly or sent to you to distribute.

Ongoing

In most cases, you can add new employees to the plan according to your company policies. The same applies to newborns and adoptions. And after employees leave, some plans can be designed to allow them to continue their coverage.

Renewal

The plans are structured in one-year increments, so each year you’ll have the opportunity to tweak your plan.

Conclusion

Employers and employees alike can benefit from establishing a group health plan. Consider adding one to your compensation package. Tenzing can help you first understand your options then implement your solution. Contact an advisor to begin the process.

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