The medical benefits policy your company pursues has a significant impact on many stakeholders in your business. Obviously, cost control is a driver for every business owner whereas accountability to budgets is a key concern for department heads. This can clash with the business goals of the HR department since employee benefits are an important factor in both hiring and retaining talent; here in the UAE, over 50% of employees view the benefits package as a very important component of workplace satisfaction.
There is also a strong human element as well when it comes to group health insurance, as both employees and their families are effected by the policy you choose. Appeasing all these seemingly conflicting parties can seem like a daunting task for an HR professional. To help make your life easier, here are a few things you should consider before choosing a medical insurance policy for your company.
Start with locations
Every insurance plan has a medical network of hospitals & clinics where policyholders can take advantage of direct billing. It pays for your employees to stay within this network since it can help keep claims down, and by direct association, it will help keep your renewal premium down as well (you can learn more about our enterprise technology platform that makes it easy for employees to say within their medical network by clicking here).
Typically, there is a premium network that contains a large number of hospitals & clinics. Compared to the regular network, premium ones usually include facilities from Mediclinic, Medcare, Saudi German Hospital and more. Finally, there is usually a restricted network offering that mostly consists of facilities in Al Qusais, Al Quoz, Bur Dubai, Deira and Jebel Ali (such as Aster and NMC).
The cost of medical insurance can differ significantly based on the network. The cost for a policy with the premium network can be over twice as much as the cost for the exact same policy but with the regular network.
So why is this important? Most employees will end up visiting medical facilities in the vicinity of their home. For example, employees living in Discovery Gardens may not really take advantage of the premium network since many of the hospitals are on the other side of town. Of course, you can still provide great benefits, but make sure you consider where your employees live to avoid overpaying for group medical coverage.
Talk to a broker
There are many insurance brokers in the UAE, so make sure you choose good one (click here to get started). A reliable insurance broker will do all the research for you and compare options from different insurance companies in the UAE, this way you can find the best option for your company. In general, companies end up getting better rates when going with a broker versus directly approaching an insurance company. A broker can also make your life easier when navigating the application process.
You should think about what benefits matter the most to you. You will probably never find the perfect health insurance plan, so narrowing down your priorities will help you make a decision. For example, having worldwide coverage might be important if your employees frequently travel on business trips. An important one to consider is coverage of pre-existing conditions. You will find that some plans cover pre-existing conditions immediately, whereas others require a 6-month waiting period before employees are covered.
Compare health insurance plans
As with any good or service you are shopping for, it is important to look at different options to ensure that you make the best decision.
Customer experience is important
Giving your employees a comprehensive medical insurance plan will produce minimal benefits if the employees do not receive the customer experience to match it. Here in the UAE, that is easier said then done. At Bayzat, not only do we make sure every policy member receives the customer experience they deserve, we also provide a powerful technology platform that helps employees understand their health insurance policy.
Think long term
You never want to be put in a situation where you have to reduce employees’ medical benefits because renewal costs are too high. Unfortunately, this happens quite often in the UAE. Many companies that approach us complain that their insurer has increased their premium because their claims ratio was too high in the previous insurance year. Helping your employees understand the terms & conditions of their health insurance policy is a great first step in helping to keep your claims ratio down. This has to be an ongoing exercise throughout the year rather than a last ditch effort. Of course, with the high penetration of smartphones, technology has become one of the most effective ways to do this.