New health plans launched for SMEs
Oman Insurance Company (OIC) and Bupa Global unveiled a new range of tiered international private medical insurance (IPMI) plans, catered specifically to the needs of SMEs in Dubai. The new products are a result of extensive customer research, which revealed SMEs in the UAE want more flexible products with more cost-containment options adapted to business needs.
The research revealed that SMEs want health plans that can be enhanced by allowing decision makers to add modules such as dental, and have the option of upgrading to a higher tier plan, or even extending cover to include families of their employees. SMEs increasingly want a regional or international plan that offers all the benefits of a reputable insurer with the flexibility to reduce costs, and simplicity to administer all employee health plans.
These new business health plans are locally insured and administered by Oman Insurance Company and internationally administered by Bupa Global in the UAE.
Malcolm Wright, Head of Partner Commercial Distribution for Oman Insurance Company, said: “SMEs are starting to adopt long-term recruitment and talent retention strategies to support business objectives. In order to recruit and retain the right people, businesses need to invest in their employees’ welfare, which means added health benefits to a greater portion of professionals1. We are proud to be providing a new range of plans that truly meet business needs for SMEs in Dubai. Based on the findings of our research, these four new products, Business Select, Business Premier, Business Elite and Business Ultimate are tiered on benefits, geographical coverage, provider network and premium.”
Supporting the research findings, Maria Loughran, Head of Corporate Accounts, Pacific Prime, highlighted: “Demand for business health insurance plans has changed. Where companies once accepted one size fits all health cover for a select number of senior executive teams, now they look for individually customisable health plans for all employees. SMEs want purchasing business health insurance to be a clear, quick and seamless procedure, and they want their employees’ healthcare managed within a single plan that they can structure to their specific needs.”
This launch comes at a pivotal time, when mandatory health insurance has been enforced in Dubai, thus becoming a key priority for SMEs. The regulation ensures everyone has the fundamental right to access healthcare, but inevitably results in some firms attempting to reduce costs by only offering the basic benefits mandated by the regulator. However, in order to stand out and attract and retain talent, companies are now looking to offer more premium cover that is customisable to the unique needs of their employees.
Speaking on the needs of the SME sector, Essam Disi, Director of Strategy & Policy at Dubai SME, stated: “SMEs are the backbone of our economy; they contribute 40 per cent of Dubai’s GDP and recruit around 42 per cent of Dubai’s workforce. The new health insurance regulations are aligned with the government plans to promote business sophistication and achieve social development goals. We have more than 150,000 SMEs in Dubai, and I believe they should be able to assess the various offers in the market and select the one that best-fits their requirements. The focus shouldn’t be on the cost only, but rather on taking care of employees and keeping them happy to boost productivity.”
The new business health plans are designed to offer comprehensive cover for physical and mental health.
They will provide employees with 24/7 domestic, regional or international cover as per their need, through an extensive healthcare network2. The range of benefits includes:
- In-hospital care
- Coverage options by geography and network
- Evacuation – if emergency treatment isn’t available locally, an employee will be evacuated (and when medically necessary their relative or partner) to where they need to be for treatment
- Treatment for cancer and other serious illnesses for as long as needed
- Hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions
- Transplants and rehabilitation