It’s that time of year again when you have to work on your company’s group medical insurance renewal. What should you be considering this year to ensure you get the very best deal for yourself and your coworkers?
Well, if you are in an HR function or part of the hiring team, this decision will have a bearing on everyone at the company and any future hires over the coming 12 months. So it is important to get it right. Studies have shown that expatriate employees, especially in the UAE where the cost of healthcare is eye-watering, will often take into account a company’s health insurance scheme as part of their decision to accept an offer or not.
That works both ways, a good health insurance scheme is not just a great talent attraction tool, but also an excellent retention tool as well. This is even more relevant when you are hiring for a senior or C-suite position that will often be an older more experienced candidate with family members to consider also.
1.) Are the benefits sufficient for your group medical insurance?
If you get it wrong, you may be stuck for another 12 months until you can change it again. Here at Beneple, we often help new-to-region companies with peer-to-peer employee benefit benchmarking to make sure they get the group medical insurance right. Maternity, dental, and copays are all items that need to be carefully considered. We now see more and more companies sending out employee satisfaction surveys specifically to acquire feedback around their health insurance scheme. Otherwise, the only feedback you have is from those who have spoken up or perhaps from your own personal experiences.
2.) Is the network relevant for your group?
Often brokers will present ‘cheaper’ options in a bid to win or retain business. That usually means switching to a lower network or lower benefits or a far inferior insurer. Any of these will cause you no end of complaints from disgruntled employees. If your group consists of expats living in certain communities close by to established well-known popular healthcare facilities, they will expect to have access to said facilities. So this is very important when considering your options.
3.) Is the price right?
Your premium will depend largely on the demographic and the claims performance. Smaller groups or SMEs will have some protection from a wider pooling arrangement and larger groups will be priced based on their own group’s performance. Do you believe your broker has made the appropriate level of effort to ensure you are not paying more than you should do?
4.) Have you started the process on time?
So many companies leave this to the last moment and then put themselves, their broker and the insurer under pressure. This can be easily avoided. We start working on the renewal 3 months prior to expiry to ensure a smooth and timely process. If done on or ahead of time, we have a far greater opportunity to negotiate with our insurer or if needed to shop around and negotiate with insurers to get the very best deal. Starting the process later diminishes that opportunity.
5.) Have you submitted all of your onboarding documents?
As above, leaving this process to the last minute puts everyone under pressure. Starting the process nice and early affords us the opportunity to check everything, cross all the t’s, dot all the i’s and ensure cards (or e-cards) are delivered BEFORE the renewal date and the renewed policy is activated on time. Ideally, final decisions should be made no later than three or four weeks prior to expiry to ensure a smooth process.
6.) Have your employees had their plan explained to them?
We strongly believe and have witnessed first-hand that educating our clients and the employees on how to correctly use their policy has a huge positive long-term impact on behaviours and ultimately insurance costs. A group without this explanation often falls victim to fraud, waste and abuse. We will often come and deliver education sessions on the group medical scheme and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Do any of these points raise more questions than answers? Feel free to reach out for a second opinion or get in touch for further information.