The inclusion of mental health and preventive care are among other trends that are likely to dominate the industry in 2024.
Medical inflation has been a defining characteristic in the health insurance industry for the past few years and is likely to dominate conversations in 2024 as employers renew employees’ medical contracts, said Rajendran Murkkoth, deputy CEO of Gargash Insurance.
“Health insurance premiums for employees constitute a significant financial outlay for any company. Therefore, the rising cost of healthcare has become a major concern for companies and SMEs. Some employers are forced to re-evaluate benefits offered to their employees through corporate coverages. “By 2024, it would be imperative for employers to monitor claims experience over time, understand plan features important to their workforce, and create a plan intentional strategy to manage long-term costs,” he said.
Needless to say, cost containment will be the perfect balancing act for employers and healthcare insurers next year, not just in the UAE but globally. More than two dozen countries are projected to experience double-digit rate increases on average during 2022, 2023, and 2024 for employer-sponsored health insurance, according to a recent Mercer study. The study surveyed 223 insurers in 58 countries.
The actual medical trend rate in the UAE in 2022 stood at 10 percent against the overall inflation rate of 4.5 percent. In 2023, this rate is projected to be 12.5 percent and is expected to reduce to 11 percent, which is lower than the global average, according to the report Getting the balance right between cost management and customer satisfaction. the needs of employees.
In the case of the Middle East and Africa, 57 percent of insurance companies surveyed plan to reduce coverage to manage costs, while the remainder would explore making improvements to plans to help address attraction, retention and commitment.
On the positive side, several insurers in the UAE are open to expanding the scope of insurance coverage to include mental well-being and learning issues related to children, adolescents and families. “Many insurers are willing to expand coverage in these areas after actuarially valuing it and incorporating it into the premium. The challenge is to strike a balance that is beneficial to both the insured and the insurer. Once the current relationship between payer and beneficiary “If you take a more partnership-based approach, you can expect greater implementation,” Murkkoth said.
Another important trend that is likely to dominate the medical insurance industry in 2024 is the importance given to preventive measures. “Insurance companies in the UAE are moving away from being mere passive administrators or claim payers to becoming welfare partners of policyholders,” says Murkkoth.
“Insurance companies have launched a whole host of initiatives in the years since the pandemic, and we expect this to continue. We have noticed increasing acceptance and use of wearable technology, health gaming apps, telemedicine, remote testing, etc. “
Health insurance companies are also running training and familiarization programs to educate insured members on better health management and optimal ways to use the new offerings.
Gargash Insurance has been in operation for almost three decades and has become one of the leading insurance intermediaries in the UAE. It offers insurance brokerage and risk management services to large corporations, small and medium-sized businesses and individuals, through its digital and offline channels.
“At Gargash, we have developed many core competencies in managing health insurance for large companies, SMEs and individuals. We enjoy considerable market share due to our strong focus on service and commitment to our clients, many of whom have been with us for decades.”
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