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5 Biggest Health Insurance Mistakes UAE Firms can Avoid

By Neha Goyal
  | Published: 05 April 2021

Don’t gamble with your health, get the right cover at the right price.

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As per the recent data released by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the UAE’s offline and online health insurance market is saturated with insurers. According to it, there are 41 authorized insurance companies in Abu Dhabi alone thus hinting towards the fact that this number could be even higher for the rest of the UAE. This implies that the market faces intense competition with firms trying to top each other in order to sell their products to the consumers. As such the need of the hour is to optimize efficiency in the health care delivery system since it is ultimately the core responsibility of the health insurance policy makers.

Companies use a variety of tactics to tempt their clients with highly competitive prices in order to win them over. This does not sound like such bad news for the policy buyers, but often times the reality isn’t so sweet since this usually involves offers that are too good to be true, simply made in order to tempt the buyers to buy a product that is most likely insufficient for their needs. Furthermore, these apparently economical offers will devalue their products in the long term because cost reduction often means a reduction in coverage. 

The road to getting offline or online health insurance is not so simple and that is why buyers often seek the help of a competent broker to get a policy that is ideal for their requirements. There are however pitfall to this and we have tried to list down the five most common mistakes one can avoid when buying a health insurance policy:

Don’t take decisions only on the basis of a few criteria

To some people researching policies before buying online health insurance might seem like a tedious task. Therefore, they attempt to streamline this process by only focusing on some of the key criteria while ignoring the less obvious but equally important ones in the process. For instance, one might be swayed by the size of the insurance provider’s network, which isn’t a bad thing to consider. However, what if the insurance company has only a few or no hospitals and doctors close to where most of your employees live? This would mean that you would have to travel long distances every time they want medical assistance, losing precious time in cases of emergencies. Thus, the network size might not be the most important thing an employer has to consider.

Similarly, there are other aspects one must consider like the provider’s technical infrastructure, how fast their claim processing is, how efficient is their customer support, etc. It is important to spend a little more time conducting adequate research in order to understand what are your needs as an organization. Do not directly jump on to what seems like the best offer without weighing in all the alternatives because not all that glitters is gold!

The procurement department’s lack of expertise

Usually the procurement team of a company is responsible for making purchases and these are usually motivated by the prices. However, buying a health insurance policy can not be compared to any other purchase. There are many things to consider before making decisions regarding health insurance plans like coverage, network, etc. Selecting a policy simply based on its price can leave your workforce vulnerable in times of need. A health care plan is a long-term need rather than a mere one-off transaction. Healthier employees mean higher attendance and greater production output, thus making this investment an even more important one over a significant period of time. 

Getting a comprehensive medical insurance cover as an essential part of the employee benefits scheme offered by your firm is important in being able to not only attract a skilled workforce but also in being able to retain them. It is thus important to understand that the amount your company spends on healthcare benefits is more than a mere expense on the company’s balance sheet. It is an investment in the people working for the company and therefore bigger than just another cost. Therefore, it becomes necessary to factor this in while buying an appropriate health insurance policy for your employees.

Don’t skip the broker 

Sometimes firms indulge in cost-cutting in the most inappropriate places. If you think you can save big bucks by dealing directly with the insurance provider while buying a health insurance policy for your employees, might not be the wisest idea. Skipping the broker might in fact be a risky endeavor. If you are directly contacting the insurance provider, you must have a thorough technical know-how of the different kinds of offline and online health insurance products to be able to get a comprehensive group cover. You will have to have deep knowledge of the market to find the best companies and policies that are perfect for your and your employees’ needs. This becomes all the more important given the highly competitive insurance landscape in the country that will require expertise in differentiating one policy from another.

Working alongside an expert broker will however help you overcome these challenges. It is their job to work according to your needs, your employees, the region your company operates from while finding a health insurance policy that is worth your money. This will also allow you to take a break and let them deal with all the hassles.

Overlooking the claims history

Paying attention to the claims history is extremely vital as past claims are the best indicator of ascertaining the future demographics of claims made by your employees. Therefore, firms can not afford to ignore these numbers while booking their next health insurance policy cover. On the contrary, carefully utilizing them might even save you some money. Claims analysis will enable you to clearly see the bigger picture that involves the conditions that make your employees vulnerable, thus offering you a way to deal with the issue promptly while also customizing your health cover to take better care of your needs. Packages that address those issues will be best suited for your firm and its employees. This might even help reduce those issues in the future by providing a targeted management program for those issues in specific. The insurance provider can offer appropriate screenings to diagnose those conditions timely so that treatment can be started in the early stages itself. In the lack of a proper claims history, it becomes difficult to evaluate the things you need a cover for. So, in order to prevent yourself from entering into the insurance market ill-equipped, thus making wrong decisions regarding your coverage, it is best to regularly assess your claims history.

Look beyond the price points

Getting the best deal price- wise is certainly important, but it is not the only important thing. Do not become too hell bent on getting the best price as it might prove to be counterproductive in the long run. Acquiring a tunnel vision that is entirely focused on getting the lowest price point might equate to getting the inapt services from your insurance provider. As discussed earlier that sometimes the cheaper product might translate to a product that is poorly administered, that uses unreliable technology, has slower claim settling procedures, or offers the mediocre medical provider as a part of its network. It might also accompany the lack of appropriate dental, optical, and wellness care. Thus, fixating on the lower price tag of an insurance product might leave you low-quality services that will only extract money out of your and your employees’  pocket, proving to be far more expensive.

To Sum It Up

Buying offline or online health insurance can be a complicated task but it should never be based entirely on its price. In UAE’s competitive insurance market it is easy to make mistakes because of so many alluring and confusing deals offered by insurance providers. It, therefore, makes sense to seek aid from an expert to help you traverse through this complicated maze with the help of their specialized skill set. Adopting a pragmatic approach to buying health insurance will enable you to select a plan that fully takes your needs into consideration not only today but also in the future.