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William Russell to Provide Outpatient Direct Billing for Individuals in Dubai
William Russell have recently launched an exclusive plan for UMI clients in Dubai to offer outpatient direct billing to individual clients in this increasingly popular destination point for global expats. This latest development occurred after much discussion took place between UMI and William Russell with aims of improving customer experience and accommodating for the constantly evolving individual market as Dubai rebuilds after the 2009 Global Financial Crisis.
Although William Russell already offer direct billing for their SME clients (Small Medial Enterprise - corporate policies with as low as three employees), individual clients with William Russell in the past were unable to avail the direct billing network that SME clients enjoyed through William Russell’s third party administrator (TPA), Neuron.
Outpatient direct billing for individual clients in Dubai has been something of a moot point in recent times for many international insurers. The reason for this is that outpatient direct billing is not typically something that would automatically be offered by international insurers. However, there is a big expectation for this in the market as outpatient direct billing is nearly always included with the less comprehensive options that are available from more locally-focused insurers with regionalised plans.
Historically in the UAE, insurers offering worldwide expatriate cover have been more inclined to only offer the slow, inconvenient, and often frustrating pay and claim process for outpatient treatment, relying on their superior coverage levels instead to attract clients on to the plan. This has worked in the past as international plans with more comprehensive coverage, compared to the limited regional plans from local insurers, have been far more attractive to globally mobile expats who frequently travel.
Comprehensive plans from international insurers tend to not only include much higher levels of actual coverage, but there are also no restrictions at all on which hospitals clients can go to for treatment. This means that globe-trotting expats could have complete freedom of choice of which facility they wish to go to worldwide, and they will still have 100% cover, including the major international facilities with considerably high costs for treatment. This is opposed to the regional plans with low premiums levels which, although do offer outpatient direct billing, would usually only allow treatment at lower cost facilities with a lower quality of medical treatment. Furthermore, treatment at international facilities would be excluded and plans would typically have very limited emergency cover when outside the country of residence.
However, with the UAE's current expatriate population rapidly expanding in both size and strength and showing every intent of not just matching, but easily surpassing the size of the economic growth that was enjoyed prior to 2009, there has been an increasing demand for plans offering worldwide cover for just individual and families as more expatriates from around the globe. This is in contrast to when Dubai was in the more primary stages of its growth and a vast majority of expatriates were automatically added onto their employer’s corporate medical scheme.
With a larger percentage of the market for worldwide coverage having to choose their own personal insurance instead of just automatically joining their company group scheme, this has resulted in mounting competition from the international insurance companies service standards as they try to meet the market demand driven by large numbers of people making the move.
International insurers are finding they can no longer rely on offering comprehensive levels of coverage alone. Instead, the trend in the market appears to be changing with the focus moving towards ensuring clients have the best possible experience while on the plan, resulting in a stronger emphasis towards giving the easiest and simplest processing methods possible. It is no longer becoming tolerable for clients to just accept that they are in a less developed country and experience slow claims processing as a result. Dubai is quickly becoming one of the most modern cities in the world and its residents should be able to have the luxuries enjoyed by those in other more mature international expat destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
For William Russell, allowing their clients to have access to a network partner with such a wide spread presence and depth of local experience as their TPA, Neuron has been one of the key reasons for the success of William Russell in the SME Market in the past. Neuron provides direct billing not only in the UAE, but in many surrounding countries as well including Bahrain, Jordan, India, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, and Pakistan. With this now accessible to William Russell’s individual clients, UMI analysts are very positive to have the exclusivity to offer such a market specific plan.