The hidden cost of uninsured employees

Private health insurance empowers employees to prioritise their well-being. [iStockphoto]

A survey conducted by a University of Nairobi student in 2012 revealed a concerning trend.

About 78 per cent of Kenyan SMEs don't offer private health insurance alongside the existing government healthcare scheme to their employees.

While these programmes provide a baseline level of healthcare coverage, they often leave employees vulnerable when faced with dire medical situations.

The culprit behind this low private health insurance adoption rate? Soaring healthcare costs.

Over time, inflation has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to afford comprehensive health insurance coverage for their workforce.

On the other hand, the existing government healthcare scheme, while valuable, often has limitations.  These limitations can leave employees exposed when they need specialised consultations, advanced treatment options, or care at private facilities.

As an employer, imagine this, an employee shows up to work while battling a nasty illness.

Unknown to you, the employee might be physically present, but their productivity is likely to be hampered. This phenomenon, known as presenteeism, can cost your businesses dearly.

Lost productivity

A 2003 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that pain-related presenteeism alone cost the US economy billions of dollars that year.

The Kenyan situation is likely similar, with presenteeism costing businesses millions of shillings, if not billions, in lost productivity.

As an employer, you can only imagine how much presenteeism can cost you. For some, presenteeism has already cost you in terms of lower productivity or increased cost of doing business.

Private health insurance, with its emphasis on preventive care, empowers employees to prioritise their well-being.

Early detection and treatment of illnesses lead to a healthier workforce. This translates to reduced absenteeism and a significant boost in productivity.

However, the cost aspect is a valid concern for SMEs. The good news is innovative insurance products like First Assurance’s First Afya Biashara offer customisable plans that cater to the specific needs and budget of each business.

These plans allow businesses to strike a balance between affordability and providing valuable healthcare coverage for their employees.

For sure, you will not be forced to break the bank while taking up this product.

The general and debatable conversation around employee health goes beyond physical ailments. Mental health issues and substance abuse are growing concerns. Concerns that impact both individual well-being and overall workplace productivity.

First Afya Biashara from First Assurance recognises this by offering coverage for these critical areas, therefore ensuring a more comprehensive approach to employee health.

First Afya Biashara offers comprehensive coverage, including inpatient care, outpatient care, vaccinations, annual wellness check-ups, and access to a wider network of healthcare providers.

Supplementing existing government offerings with private health insurance covers such as First Assuarance’s First Afya Biashara is a strategic investment for Kenyan SMEs.

By prioritising employee health and well-being, businesses not only contribute to a healthier society but also reap the rewards of a more productive, engaged, and loyal workforce.

Just as Howard Schultz (Former CEO of Starbucks) said, “Happy employees make happy customers, which leads to happy shareholders."

With customisable solutions like First Afya Biashara available, there's no longer an excuse to not take up private health insurance coverage for your workforce.