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How to get the most out of your corporate health insurance plan
Posted on Jun 15, 2016 by Travis Jones
Have you had a look at your company provided health insurance plan before? We mean have you REALLY had a look? Many people assume that their group health insurance will work for just about anything that ails them, but sometimes this is not the case. So what should you do to make sure your health insurance fits your needs? Here, UAE Medical Insurance provides tips on getting the most from your company medical insurance.
Group health insurance through an employer; It’s an easy thing to take for granted. In many cases we get a folder full of insurance information handed to us by a human resources representative once a year, which promptly gets stuffed in a drawer at home and is forgotten until we are in dire need of using our health insurance. Unfortunately, in some cases we may dust the documents off when we need them only to find that our coverage is not what we thought it was. Maybe outpatient benefits are not provided, or the maximum benefits allowed for a particular kind of treatment are too low, or one of a whole host of other problems may come up. It is in these situations that we wish we had spent more time researching what was actually being provided for us and, even more importantly, our families. Below are some tips that may help you navigate your company provided health insurance policy and make sure that you and your family obtain the medical insurance coverage that you need.
Get involved in the process: Yes, our companies and their human resources departments will handle most of the important (and sometimes tedious) work when it comes to sourcing and enrolling in a group health insurance plan. However, we should all take the initiative to get involved in the process. Not only is this true so that we won’t be caught off guard by any aspects of our health insurance policies, but also because we then have the ability to voice our thoughts on what is or isn’t important to us in our health insurance.
Decide on the best insurance that is available to your loved ones: In today’s world, families frequently have multiple sources of insurance that can cover their children or other dependents. Even if this isn’t the case, new healthcare reforms in Dubai require that every member of your family now have their own private medical insurance plans. If each parent is working, they may both have their own company insurance plans that can cover children. Should they use your plan, your significant other’s plan, or a separate plan altogether? There are multiple points to consider in making this decision. First you will want to identify the ailments that you are most concerned with your child having access to. Then you will want to compare this list with the specific cover ages available in your health insurance policy documentation. Not only will you want to make sure that coverage is provided for these items, but you will also want to look at any limits associated with each coverage. It could happen that visits to the pediatrician are limited on one plan, but not on another, or one plan may let you choose any medical facility you like, while the other would limit your dependents to a network of approved hospitals and clinics. Of course, the cost of premiums for adding dependents to a plan will also be taken into consideration. Once you’ve compared the pros and cons of each available health insurance policy, you can make the best choice. Alternatively, if you find that there are unacceptable holes in each current policy, you may find that a new policy is the preferred option.
Revise your needs annually: Make note of when the renewal of your health insurance plan will take place each year. Then, weeks before this date, revise your policy documents and make sure that they still address your family’s medical concerns in the way that you need. When doing this, you will also want to take note of all the claims you’ve made on your insurance policy in the past year. How many times did you make a claim? What was the totally cost of all claims paid out? How does this amount compare to the amount you spent on your health insurance over the past year? If the answers to these questions don’t seem to add up to a good value for cost, you should bring this up with your company’s group insurance plan manager.
Don’t let money be the main factor in your decision to purchase insurance: None of us want to break the bank to ensure our health, but focusing too much on the cost of health insurance premiums can leave us with a plan that is sorely lacking. The first priority should be getting the coverage levels that you want and then worrying about getting the costs to where you want them after. If you have your ideal plan, but the cost is simply too high for your taste, it may be possible to work with your employer or the insurance company directly in order to reduce premiums where possible.
Check your options through your employer: While you may be happy with the company provided insurance plan, it can’t hurt to check in on other options being presented. For instance, insurance plans known as Consumer-Driven health Plans are becoming increasingly popular globally. Prices on these types of plans are generally lower than normal, and company subsidies towards them may also be higher. The trade-off here is that deductibles are usually higher. Also, these types of plans are usually tied to a Health Savings Account or a Health Reimbursement Account to help pay for out-of-pocket healthcare costs. This is just one example of a different type of plan that could be available to you, so don’t be afraid to ask come renewal time.
Check out where your plan allows you to go: Everybody likes having freedom, and having the freedom to choose where you receive your medical treatment is no different. First, check to see if your plan has a provider network of approved medical facilities that you will be limited to. If this doesn’t appear to be a problem, then you should be fine to stay in-network. People who find themselves traveling outside of the UAE however, may think it beneficial to obtain a separate international health insurance plan, like those available from UAE Medical Insurance, that will allow you to choose treatment at virtually any hospital or clinic worldwide, including at home.
Take advantage of value adds: Does your employer provide wellness plans or disease prevention schemes? In many cases company human resources departments will make arrangements for perks like gym memberships, discounts for using fitness apps or other wellness-focused items that many employees don’t use, or simply don’t know about. Ask around to see if any such value added services exist at your company, and, if not, find out why not. Simply asking this question can get the gears turning and the ball rolling on some great extra benefits being added to the company health plan.
Communicate with your plan administrator: Should you either identify inadequacies with your current plan's benefits or with the price of the plan itself, talk to your company’s plan administrator or other leadership about your concerns. As we’ve seen time and again, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and it is important for your employers to know if the group insurance they are offering to employees is simply not adequate. Since you have already taken the other steps mentioned above, you will be able to approach the discussion in an informed manner, and you can lay out exactly what it is you’re looking for in a health plan, as well as where the current plan is coming up short. Coming into such a discussion armed with numbers and knowledge will go a long way towards showing top brass that you know what you’re talking about.
If you decide you need a top-up plan, use a licensed insurance broker: Sometimes the plans on offer by your company will fall short in one area or another. In this instance, it may be possible to purchase a top-up insurance plan that only adds the specific benefits that you are looking for. One of the best ways to purchase these is to work with a licensed insurance broker, like UAE Medical Insurance, that can compare plans from multiple insurance companies in order to address your specific needs at the best value. This is likewise true for standalone health insurance plans, should you decide that one is needed. Contact UAE Medical Insurance today for more information and a free quote.