An unintended consequence of mandatory health insurance has been the commodity of health plans. What was once seen as an additional benefit for some key employees has become mandatory for all employees – naturally leading to a massive increase in demand within the health insurance industry.

This is particularly relevant for employers with less than 100 employees, dependents of employees and domestic help. Under the Compulsory Health Insurance Law in Dubai, which aims to build homogeneous health services for all, every employer is obliged to offer medical insurance to their employees.

Keeping up with a demand hike of this level is no small feat for any industry, especially when insurance seekers and sponsors alike faced fines for non-compliance by a set deadline. As of the beginning of 2017, over 4 million people – 98% of the emirates’ population – have been signed up for health insurance.

The Dubai Health Authority has been lenient on their deadlines as the high influx of businesses applying for health insurance has made it difficult for insurance providers to keep up with the demand for first-time applicants, let alone provide support to existing insured.

Photo: Courtesy of Bayzat

There has been a discrepancy between the plans offered by employers and their employees’ expectations thereof. To bridge this gap, an employer has to keep certain factors in mind when considering an insurance plan. This will ensure that they pay only for benefits that are necessary, whilst avoiding benefits that are not utilized.

Tarek Bayaa, Chief Commercial Officer at Bayzat shares three tips that can help small business owners win the health insurance game, while designing a comprehensive health package for their employees:

  1. Detailed evaluation of requirements:

Asking a few questions upfront can relieve employers from future headaches while simultaneously making sure that employees get the best deal with the budget spent on healthcare. An extensive study of the company’s insurance data will enable them to make informed decisions.

Photo: Courtesy of Bayzat

It is imperative for companies that already offer their employees’ health insurance to gather information on previous claims and regularly review the reports with the insurance providers. Such data can provide answers to many questions.

It can help shed light on the ideal coverage (including additional rider benefits) for an individual, the most common ailments employees suffer from, the average number of individuals submitting claims every year, etc. Such insights will help in finding the best scheme for employees and figuring out which special benefits must be included.

2.     Identifying the right insurance policy that works best for your:

It is important that health insurance policies work for your business and for individuals covered under the scheme. Having to call several individual insurers can be time-consuming and can utilize a lot of resources. Despite the stringent Dubai Healthcare Authority (DHA) guidelines that insurers must meet to be eligible to operate in the UAE, it can still be overwhelming to find out which plan is best for you and you employees.

Using a comprehensive and up-to-date platform that compares the best health insurance policies is one option that can save time and resources. This way, employers can be certain they are getting the maximum benefits on their healthcare spends. At times, a competitive insurer may offer similar benefits at a lower cost or more benefits at the same cost.

Photo: Courtesy of Bayzat

3.     Opt for a digitized health insurance product portfolio that is flexible, convenient and easy to use

The on-going digitalisation of the health insurance product portfolio has come a long way since the announcement of mandatory health insurance in Dubai.

The use of health insurance online portals has enabled employers to purchase and issue their health insurance online from a desktop or through a smartphone. Furthermore, these newly empowered employers who have signed up could even access and manage their policies online – without ever speaking to another person.

This kind of tech-centric effort from health insurance providers was not the first – nor will it be the last as they pursue digital strategy perfection to empower their customers.

With the newest deadline of March 31st right around the corner, the penalties incurred for non-compliance will be retroactive – and thus applied for every month that the dependent was uninsured at a rate of AED500 per month.

Healthcare costs are rising every year globally, and employers are doing everything possible to keep costs under control. By signing up for comprehensive group health plans, employers in the UAE could also innovatively manage their costs while providing the best long-term health benefits for their employees.

Tarek Bayaa is Bayzat’s Chief Commercial Officer