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Five corporate health insurance mistakes to avoid
Posted on Mar 30, 2017 by Rob McBroom
The Dubai Health Authority's compulsory health insurance scheme has been in place for medium to large companies for almost two years. This means that many companies in the Emirate are coming up on renewing their corporate health insurance plan. If you are close to starting the renewal process but are thinking of switching providers, there are a number of things that can make the process easier. One such thing is being aware of the mistakes other companies have made. As such, here are five corporate health insurance mistakes commonly made by other companies and how you can avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not selecting the right type coverage
In the UAE, there are two categories of private health insurance (insurance offered by companies rather than the government) that companies and individuals will consider:
Local cover - These plans are designed to provide cover for medical expenses only within Dubai and the UAE. In many cases, these plans will also cover care on the Indian sub-continent due to the lower cost of care there and the high number of people from these countries working in the Emirates.
International cover - These plans are designed to provide cover for medical expenses anywhere in the world, including in Dubai.
The primary difference between these plans, aside from where they provide cover, is that international plans will have higher coverage limits. This is largely due to the fact that these plans are designed to provide cover for care received at private hospitals.
As to the mistake, we have seen companies secure the wrong category of coverage for their employees. One of the most common examples here is if you have a large sales team who spends a sizeable percentage of their time outside of the UAE and provide them with local coverage only. If they get sick outside of the country, their plan will not cover the cost of care, resulting in them having to pay out of pocket. This will likely not be too popular among your staff.
To avoid this mistake, it is a good idea to look at your employees’ roles and see if they travel a lot or if they are expats who spend time in their home countries each year e.g., teachers. From there, consider the appropriate type of coverage for their needs.
Mistake 2: Not selecting a plan that meets the DHA or other regional requirements
As you are probably already aware, companies operating in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are required to secure health insurance for their employees. In both emirates there are requirements on what these plans must cover, and if you are found to be providing plans that do not meet these requirements, then you will be fined and your employees will likely see visa applications or renewals denied.
It is important to be aware that one of the requirements of these plans, in Dubai at least, is that the plan must be underwritten in Dubai by an approved insurer. This mistake can be found when you are based outside of Dubai, but have an office in the city that your employees visit frequently. If you need a work visa, you need to secure compliant health insurance. The problem is, if you already provide health insurance in your home office, chances are very high that this plan has not been approved by the DHA and does not meet government requirements.
This, in turn means your employees will not be issued a work visa to Dubai and you will need to secure a plan that does meet requirements, which is an extra investment.
One of the best ways to avoid this mistake is to secure a health insurance plan in Dubai. Be sure to also look into what any plan you are considering covers and ensure that it does indeed cover what is required by the DHA.
Mistake 3: Waiting too long to start the renewal process
Depending on your business and your coverage needs, the renewal process can take up to three months to fully execute. Here at UMI we try to start the process even earlier with a series of reviews, and possibly even a request for proposal should you wish to change providers. This is done to ensure that your employees have continuous coverage.
The mistake here is that if you wait too long you might be leaving your employees without coverage, which would technically be illegal in some cities, like Dubai. Beyond that, if they get sick during this period they will not be able to submit a claim for care. Additionally, a lapse in coverage can result in fines for your company.
This is probably not something you want to deal with so it is important to ensure you leave enough time to complete the renewal or switching process.
Mistake 4: Not involving employees
When it comes to health insurance it is important to remember that you are adopting this plan for your employees. If your employees find the plan you secure valuable, they will use it to help keep themselves healthy. Healthy employees can have a direct impact on overall productivity, not to mention your bottom line.
On the other hand, if your employees don't like the plan there is a good chance they will not use it. This could result in you losing money, or at the very least seeing a negative return on your investment.
Therefore, it is a good idea to involve your employees in the decision making process. You don't have to involve all employees, and you certainly won't please all of them, but having valuable input can go a long way in helping you select the right plan.
Mistake 5: Going with the cheapest corporate health insurance option
We aren't going to beat around the bush here, corporate health insurance can be a costly investment. When many companies start their research they quickly find that health insurance can be a large investment. With so many companies operating on increasingly thin margins this leads some businesses to select the cheapest option.
This can be a mistake, as in our experience the cheapest option is not always the best option. In some cases, plans are cheap because they don't provide adequate cover for their members, or maybe the insurer's service is less than great, which means losing time dealing with claims and concerns.
Beyond that, in the past we have seen plans enter the market in the UAE with low premiums, and within a few years the insurer increases prices by a large percentage. This means that your current cheap plan might not always remain so.
It would, therefore, be a better strategy to invest in a plan that is right for your business.
How can we find the right corporate health insurance plan for you?
If you are looking to avoid the above corporate health insurance mistakes, try talking with UAE Medical Insurance. With a strong presence and seasoned corporate advisors in the UAE and around the world, we will work with you to find a plan that works for your business.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.