The concept of remote work has gained significant momentum across various industries. An Upwork study projects that 73% of all teams will employ remote workers. This indicates a growing trend in how companies structure their workforce, integrating employees from different geographical locations. As a result, the traditional office-based model is being replaced by a remote, distributed workforce.
As foreign companies hire remote workers from India, addressing the specific requirements and considerations of employee benefits, particularly health insurance, for offshore employees becomes crucial. While India boasts a talented pool of professionals, it presents distinct healthcare challenges, necessitating thoughtful consideration and appropriate insurance for remote workers.
This article delves into the intricacies of health insurance for remote workers in India. We will explain the importance of providing comprehensive employee benefits and explore various health insurance options available for remote workers in India.
Who Comprises Remote Workers?
Remote workers encompass diverse professionals working outside a traditional office setting and are no longer limited to geographical borders. Contrary to popular belief, remote work is not limited to part-time or freelance positions. Many remote workers are full-time employees employed by companies based in another location.
When a distributed workforce is appointed full-time, they are entitled to remote workers’ health insurance, among other employee benefits in India.
Importance of Health Insurance for Remote Workers in India
Health insurance is significant for employees, regardless of location or work arrangement. As remote work becomes more prevalent, ensuring proper health insurance for remote workers in India is essential. Here’s why:
- Financial Protection: Health insurance provides financial protection against unexpected medical expenses. It offers coverage for hospitalisation, medical treatments and other healthcare services, reducing the financial burden on employees and their families.
- Access to Quality Healthcare: With health insurance, remote workers in India can access a network of hospitals, clinics and doctors, ensuring timely and proper medical care. This is particularly important in India, where an efficient healthcare network may be crucial due to population density and infrastructure limitations. About 39% of full-time employees have health insurance through their work.
- Healthcare Challenges: There is a significant divide in the healthcare quality available in India’s rural and urban regions. Documented studies find a shortage of doctors in the country, widening India’s healthcare crisis. Health insurance for remote workers can help navigate these challenges by providing guidance, assistance and a network of trusted healthcare providers.
Types of Health Insurance For Remote Workers
If you are hiring remote full-time workers from India, here are some options that employers can consider for remote workers’ health insurance:
1. Employee State Insurance (ESI): This health insurance is a statutory employee benefit, mandated by the Indian labour laws. It covers medical expenses, disability, sickness benefits, maternity benefits and more. An employer has to contribute 3.25% of their wages towards ESI. It provides insurance coverage to an employee and dependents.
2. Group Medical Insurance: This is a type of health insurance policy purchased by an employer for the benefit of their employees. The coverage is typically extended to the employee's family members as well. Group medical insurance usually offers a range of healthcare benefits including hospitalisation, outpatient treatment and sometimes even coverage for alternative treatments. This is especially advantageous for remote workers in India as it provides financial security against high medical costs.
3. Supplemental Life Insurance: This insurance provides additional protection to employees beyond the standard life insurance. It allows employees to purchase life insurance coverage in addition to what their employer may already provide. It's an optional benefit and the employee may choose the coverage amount.
4. Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Coverage: This insurance pays a benefit if the employee passes away or suffers a severe injury as a result of an accident. This is particularly relevant for remote workers, who might not have the same level of occupational safety measures as those working in a traditional office environment. The coverage includes not just death, but also severe injuries like loss of limbs or eyesight.
5. COVID Insurance: This type of remote workers’ health insurance is designed to shield people specifically from the medical expenses borne out of the COVID-19 virus. The Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has approved two standard COVID-19 health insurance plans—Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak.
While the pandemic situation has subsided, the risk factor is always at play with the new variants and rising cases.
6. Mental Health Insurance: Around 80% of the Indian workforce reported mental health issues between 2021-22. Remote working can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation and stress, impacting mental well-being. Having access to mental health services through insurance can provide necessary support and intervention.
Mental health insurance typically covers expenses related to diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. This can include psychiatric consultations, hospitalisation, medication and sometimes therapy sessions. As a responsible employer, you can provide insurance for remote workers that covers mental illnesses.
The specifics of each of these health insurance for remote workers can differ across industries and the insurance partner you choose. It is best to have a local expert to guide you with employee benefits in India. For foreign companies, who haven’t established their own entity, an employer of record (EOR) can provide all the necessary guidance in managing employee benefits and insurance requirements.
Simplify Insurance for Remote Workers With Rapid
Rapid EOR is a reliable solution for foreign businesses looking to tap into India's freelancing sector while ensuring compliance with employment laws. With 25 years of experience, our team ensures full adherence to Indian employment regulations, reducing legal risks and administrative burdens for employers.
We also offer comprehensive health insurance plans in partnership with Plum. Their comprehensive three-level insurance plans cover various services, including OPD, dental and vision coverage, maternity, accident and disability.
Rapid also offers flexibility in implementing organisational culture, such as holiday calendars, leave policies and salary structures, while ensuring compliant contracts with local regulations.
Book a demo today to learn more.