The Rise of EBPs
The essential benefits plan schemes, the DHA’s way of providing adequate Dubai health insurance coverage to the masses at a reasonable cost, have proved widely popular not only with lower-income employees, but also with non-working dependents. A representative from an insurance company has stated that his company has been receiving at least 400 calls on an average daily inquiring about the (essential benefits) package. This is expected as Mandatory Dubai health insurance deadline is approaching and many residents will choose to insure their dependents with EBPs by virtue of being the cheapest way to conform to DHA regulations.
Limited Coverage and Changing Attitudes
However, there has been a shift in consumer attitude towards EBPs as of late. Initially seen by many as the most logical option, residents are starting to appreciate the advantages of paying a premium for a more comprehensive package. Dubai-visa holders who live in nearby emirates receive little to no coverage outside of Dubai, rendering their package unusable in their home emirate. The number of Dubai employees who live in another emirate has reached 1.1 million. One Dubai-visa holder living in Ajman is resentful of the service claiming that after insuring his wife and 3 children with the essential benefits package, he found out he would not be able to make use of it. Another Dubai business owner, claimed that his employees were forced to go back to Pakistan to get treatment as EBPs sometimes require 30 to 50% co-payment.
The DHA is taking giant steps in spearheading the UAE’s image as a regional and global leader in the health care industry. Since the Ishad initiative is still underway and hasn’t yet been fully applied or enforced, it is normal to expect some issues in the service. Dr Al-Yousef, a director at the Dubai Health Authority, has reiterated that although the DHA is committed to attending the needs of residents and asking them to lodge complaints about the service, individuals should read the policies carefully before purchasing. We at Bayzat understand that insurance policies are complex financial instruments, and our clients don’t always want to read all the details of every plan. As such, we allow our clients to fill in their information on our website and get indicative quotes in just minutes. Our team of dedicated experts then guide our clients through the entire process based on their preferences.
The Need for Innovation – Customized Health Plans
Some insurers have taken notice of complaints and rolled out a new range of customizable health insurance plans. With the rapid integration of digital technology and fierce market competition in the industry, insurers need to innovate and find new ways to add value. Oman Insurance Company and Bupa Global have already launched tiered plans to cater to SMEs looking for tailored insurance policies. With over 150,000 SMEs in Dubai, these business are responsible for recruiting 42% of Dubai’s workforce. The new policies allow firms to stand out and attract and retain talent by offering superior insurance policies that can satisfy unique employee needs. These plans essentially serve as an intermediate between EBPs and more premium health policies. Where companies once accepted one size fits all health cover for a select number of senior executive teams, they are now looking for individually customisable health plans for all employees. These plans will allow Dubai employees living in Sharjah to receive the geographical coverage that they need, making the entire insurance process more efficient for companies and individuals by reducing payments for unnecessary features that don’t add value. As of February 20th, the DHA has announced that even EBPs can come with additional top-up features that would increase their coverage network to healthcare providers in other emirates.
Digital Technology Key for Industry
With the emergence of smart devices, mobile apps and platforms, and online medical service portals, the UAE healthcare industry of the near future will be influenced heavily by consumers. Technology is rapidly closing the gap between patient and care-giver. With data constantly being communicated in real-time, plenty of opportunity exists for companies willing to innovate and offer consumers some form of added benefits. Modern consumers expect widespread access to information, and are likely to stick around if an insurance broker can provide such information online in a clear, up-to-date and comprehensive manner. At Bayzat, we believe that our point of differentiation is our technology. Firstly, our online platform enables everyone to compare hundreds of policies in real-time. Once agreed on a policy, our clients receive free access to our software Bayzat Benefits; which is an online platform seeking to reinvent the way people understand and use their policies.