Under the Compulsory Health Insurance Law in Dubai, which aims to build homogenous health services for all, every employer is mandated to offer medical insurance to their employees. 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 unutilized. We take a look at six of those major factors below to help employers design a comprehensive health package for their employees.
1) Coverage continuity/renewal of old policy: When an employee joins a new company, it becomes difficult for them to stay on their old plan. It is even more arduous for elderly employees or people with pre-existing conditions to find a suitable plan. Expatriates, in particular, face this problem. Hence, the provision of guaranteed renewability will ensure the employees’ interest is protected from policy cancellation, when switching to a different insurer. It will even safeguard the beneficiary from any new exclusions or extension of waiting periods for ailments that occurred during the coverage period. The coverage continuity clause will ensure that they can continue with their existing coverage without becoming subject to new waiting periods and exclusions, albeit by paying an extra premium. Employers can offer such plans with their insurance provider to ensure the continuous wellbeing of their employees. Several countries have initiated similar schemes in accordance with their health laws and regulations.
2) 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. 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.
3) Extensive research on plans periodically: Thorough research on different plans and receiving quotes from various insurance companies before renewing the existing policy plays a pivotal role in choosing the best scheme for employees. This way, employers can be certain they are getting the maximum benefits on their healthcare spends. At times, a rival provider may offer similar benefits at a lower cost or more benefits at the same cost.
4) Investigating the Insurer: Checking the credentials of the insurance company before signing the contract is a must to avoid unpleasant surprises at the time of filing a claim. It calls for a detailed study of their policy reviews, feedback on customer service and claim settlement processes, which can give some insight into their propensity to settle claims.
5) Reward program or incentive for healthy behavior: A recent study showed that small and medium sized companies offer fewer health programs than their larger counterparts. This is not only important to create a healthy work environment but also to maintain a satisfactory participation rate. For instance, obesity is widespread in the UAE, as over 60% of the population does not engage in physical activity. So, companies could for example create incentives for those who participate in obesity management or fitness programs. Similarly, they could reward employees who have successfully ceased smoking or lost weight. They could even go a step further and launch such programs in-house.
6) Periodic wellness or health check-up camps: Healthy employees are a motivated force that can work more efficiently, with lower absenteeism and less sick leave, therefore increasing output and enhancing productivity. Accordingly, it would be a good idea for employees to arrange for wellness camps or health checkups to assist employees in improving their wellbeing. If done periodically, such screenings will help companies analyze individual and collective healthcare requirements. 60% of American companies have such wellness programs for their employees. A recent Rand study (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) accentuates the payoff of successfully implementing such wellness programs. Rand gathered 10 years’ worth of data from a Fortune 100 company’s wellness program and revealed that their disease management program translated into savings of $136 per member, per month and a reduction of 36% in hospital admissions.
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 heath benefits for their employees.