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Trends and challenges for the UAE health insurance industry in 2024

Medical inflation has been a defining feature in the health insurance industry for the past few years and is likely to dominate conversations in 2024 as employers renew medical contracts for employees, he said. Rajendran Murkkoth, Joint Managing Director, Gargash Insurance.

“Health insurance premiums for employees constitute a significant financial outlay for any corporation. Therefore, the rising cost of healthcare has become a major concern for corporations and SMEs. Some employers are forced to re-evaluate benefits provided to their employees through corporate coverage. “By 2024, it would be imperative for employers to monitor the claims experience over time, understand the plan features important to their workforce, and create an intentional strategic plan 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 How to Strike the Right Balance Between Cost Management and Meeting Employee Needs.

For 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 engagement. .

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 becomes a With a more partnership-based approach, greater implementation can be expected,”

noted Murkkoth.

Another major trend that is likely to dominate the health insurance industry in 2024 is the importance placed on preventative measures.

“Insurance companies in the UAE are moving beyond 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.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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