INSURANCE-(Read-Only) 2
Photo for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Insurance companies have not given any indication they are considering hiking medical premium rates for Dubai residents, according to a top official at Dubai Health Insurance Corp (DHIC).

And “nor have insurance premiums increased year-on-year”, said Saleh Al Hashimi, CEO, which oversees all the processes related to medical insurance coverage in the emirate.

“We monitor the financials of all insurance companies licensed by DHIC to calculate if adjustments to the index price is required. The index price has been consistent since implementation. In fact, majority of insurers are offering premiums at the lower end of the Dh200 premium range allowed for the Essential Benefit Plan.”

The mandatory health insurance scheme is in its third year in Dubai. During this period, there has been a significant increase in hospital/clinic visits, some of which could be due to population rise. But what has been most notable is the frequency of repeat visits, a trend brought on by residents knowing they have medical coverage and thus not hesitating to consult a physician for any perceived ailment.

But despite the higher numbers, health care operators insist there needs to be a some increase in the basic medical insurance rates.

“Causes for adjustments in premiums (whether up or down) are due to many factors, including increase in the cost of medical treatment, which in turn can be due to increased operational costs to providers,” said Al Hashimi. “However, another factor can be the waste or abuse, which can be caused by both providers and patients such as unnecessary medical tests or prescriptions. Or even prolonged or unnecessary hospital admissions in some cases.

“In Dubai, the mandatory health insurance is only in its third year -therefore, naturally, some adjustments will occur. However, as per the index rate, it has remained consistent year-on-year to date.”

The Dubai Health Insurance Corp will be introducing “Diagnostic Related Grouping” shortly. The process has been deployed in markets elsewhere, and quite successfully.

What it does is standardise prospective payment to hospitals on inpatient treatment and encourages cost containment. All claims for the inpatient stay are submitted only after the discharge.

“The DRG is that it will help mitigate the increased claims costs by bundling payments for inpatient medical treatments, and will largely address the issue of waste or abuse,” said Saleh Al Hashimi, CEO of DHIC.