The introduction of mandatory medical insurance in Dubai has caused a boom in the number of insurance policies in the Emirate, which now has 5.1 million policyholders.
Before the law was implemented, in 2013, the number of insurance policies was of just 600,000 policyholders. A meteoric rise that has prompted healthcare providers in Dubai to hiring more specialised staff to deal with insurance-related issues.
"Most of the big healthcare organisations are recruiting an army of insurance personnel to ensure a smooth experience for their patients," Atul Aundhekar, chief executive officer of Avivo Group, one of the fastest-growing healthcare service providers in the GCC, told ITIJ.
To put it differently, the payment model has changed. So is the buying behaviour of patients"
"To put it differently, the payment model has changed. So is the buying behaviour of patients. Now we need medical insurance coordinators, coders, sub-insurance officers, claims processors, resubmission specialist and empanelment specialist, insurance officers, etc. to deal with insurance companies and process the medical claims of patients," he added.
"Healthcare entities such as Avivo Group, which even otherwise faces heavy operating expenditures, are putting additional money on the new department that handles insurance-related activities. Any delay in recovering dues or rejections of claims by insurers make it critical to a business's well-being," Aundhekar said .
Dubai's health insurance market boasts an average of $1,200 in healthcare spending per capita, placing the country among the top 20 in the world. It is now worth more than AED17 billion annually, and includes 75 insurance companies that offer more than 12,000 insurance policies of various kinds and benefits.
According to Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the policyholders are able to benefit from the services and the health insurance package anywhere in the country, within the approved network that includes more than 3,000 health facilities and 20,000 accredited doctors.
"Serious players like Avivo Group make huge investments in upgrading equipment and facilities in order to give quality services to patients. When you upgrade your facilities, you need people and technology to support them. Thus, the total cost of the company increases," Aundhekar said.
The UAE's health expenditure, which had hit AED 50.3 billion in 2018, is estimated to have increase 5.4% to AED 53 billion last year.