UAE issues a decision regarding health insurance for residents

The United Arab Emirates has made a decision about the health insurance of its citizens.

On an annual basis, the premiums for mental health insurance in the United Arab Emirates have been increasing by ten to fifteen percent, and it is anticipated that this pattern will continue in the year 2024 as well. As a result of an increase in knowledge of mental health issues in the post-pandemic period, executives in the insurance business have reported that the demand for mental health insurance among residents of the UAE continues to increase.

The high cost of mental health insurance

As a result of medical inflation, the cost of mental health insurance has been rising from 10 to 15 percent annually since the epidemic, according to Anas Mistareehi, the founder and CEO of eSanad.

He stated that "this increase is expected to continue in 2024," which means that policyholders would be required to pay higher rates for their health insurance. This is owing to the fact that about half of the insurance firms operating in the market have already increased their premiums, and the remaining companies will follow suit as a form of correction due to the high utilization.

According to Moin Ur Rehman, executive director of Unitrust Insurance, health insurance prices, particularly those covering mental health, have usually increased in 2023. This is due to the fact that medical treatments have gotten more expensive. As a result, this is passed on to the average citizen in the form of insurance rates.

"Treatments for mental health can be a commitment that lasts for a medium to lengthy period of time, which may result in large medical expenses, which may also play a role. According to Rehman, "the outlook for 2024 strongly suggests that this trend will continue; we do not anticipate a reduction in the premiums for medical insurance in the near future."

Treatment for mental health issues in the United Arab Emirates has increased by a factor of six since the year 2020, as reported by the World Health Organization.

The amount of demand

As a result of greater knowledge of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress-related disorders, as well as societal transformations and an increase of residents from countries where mental health awareness is the norm, Moin Ur Rehman stated that there has been an increase in the demand for mental health insurance.

In addition, Mistareehi stated that the demand for mental health insurance has increased in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a result of the rise in the number of mental health treatments. This is particularly true in light of the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has made many people's mental health worse as they cope with issues related to their finances and relationships.

Based on the information provided by eSanad, mental health coverage begins with a base coverage that begins at Dh950, while enhanced plans that offer a wider coverage range begin at Dh3,000.

In general, insurers are required to conform to the restrictions and standards that are established by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) for mental health coverage requirements.

Are mental health services covered by all insurance policies?

According to Mistareehi, who spoke with Khaleej Times, not all health insurance plans include mental health; nevertheless, medical insurance in the United Arab Emirates covers a variety of psychological problems, including depression.

Additionally, there are several insurance companies that provide specialist plans for mental health insurance services. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), medical insurance providers now consider mental illnesses to be on par with physical ailments. Consequently, the scope of coverage is comparable as well. Beginning with hospitalization and continuing with therapy sessions, diagnostic tests, medications, and other services also included. He went on to say that some medical insurance policies in the UAE can also cover consultations, rehabilitation, counseling, and other such services.

Rehman, echoing the comments made by Mistareehi, adding that the majority of insurance policies do not cover mental health, and that it is necessary to make a particular request for coverage. At the moment, not all insurance companies in the UAE provide coverage for mental health treatments. On the other hand, there is a prevalent movement toward the incorporation of mental health services into insurance policies that are more all-encompassing.

Find the maximum and widest coverage

In addition, the chief executive officer of eSanad stated that individuals and businesses frequently search for insurance policies that cover a broad spectrum of mental health diseases, ranging from commonly experienced conditions such as anxiety and depression to more complex disorders.

"Individuals are looking for insurance plans that cover not just therapy or counselling but a wide spectrum of mental health services, including preventive care, alternative therapies, and digital mental health solutions," said the psychiatrist.

Generally speaking, Rehman observed that individuals and businesses were looking for policies that had bigger coverage limitations.

They give coverage for psychotherapy or therapy sessions, consultations, hospitalization, and pharmacological treatments the highest priority. In addition to this, there is a growing need for coverage that incorporates holistic and alternative treatment choices. Individuals are more likely to seek this coverage than other types of people. On the other hand, when it comes to businesses, the larger or more multinational corporations are typically the ones that are more likely to provide this coverage for their employees," he went on to describe.

Rehman disclosed that individuals are currently looking for maximum coverage for mental health services. This is due to the fact that mental therapies can be expensive and long-term, requiring a significant amount of assistance.

"More people are considering options, however, most people are still concerned with the high premium costs associated with it, and the majority may still opt for cover without it."

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