UAE insurers offer more coverage for employees mental health, but the cost is worrying

Dubai: Insurers in the United Arab Emirates are increasing additional coverage for mental health issues – including those offset by financial hardship – but rates so far have been largely limited to multinational employers or large organizations. This is despite a situation after COVID-19 where mental well-being – or the lack thereof – has become such a problem for workers everywhere. “We are talking about organizations with more than 1,000 employees and where insurers can offer the additional cover for mental well-being at Dh100 / Dh200 per person,” said a senior official at a leading insurance firm. ‘In some cases, insurers offer these wellness packages as a supplement and they absorb the costs themselves. But this only applies to the group accounts where the organization already pays a substantial premium as part of their normal annual medical policy for employees. ” This means that a significant part of the workforce still does not have access to quality support services, and that this will be a bit necessary. It has been since the second half of last year that some insurers have expanded their healthcare coverage to provide employees with their clients access to mental health solutions. “In most cases, it was an addition in addition to their standard medical policies,” the insurer said. ‘It is classified as welfare solutions that cover a range of issues facing an individual. “It enables employees to use it for mental problems they face, including those caused by their financial situation, stress in the workplace or even personal problems. If necessary, the employee can access their problems without the employer knowing. ”

Cost of access

It is interesting that even with all the awareness about mental health, only the local / regional activities of multinational companies and of the systemically important large organizations expand their wellness insurance cover. In a majority of businesses, mental well-being is still seen as an individual’s issue that needs to be dealt with privately rather than the employer having to bear the costs. As businesses focus their efforts to return to full recovery after COVID-19, they will be in no mood – or perhaps not about the financial means – to expand the much-needed support.

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Cost of therapy

But the problem does not end, even if an employer provides staff members with insurance coverage for problems related to their mental well-being. “Insurance companies often do not cover the cost of therapy as a whole,” says Aakanksha Tangri of Re: Set, an online platform focusing on wellness solutions. ‘This means that a person has to pay for it themselves, and this can contribute to the financial burden associated with supporting mental health, especially on a regular basis. ‘Therapy and prescribed medication must be covered in its entirety by insurance companies. Either the workplace should cover the co-payment or provide access to further subsidized therapy by collaborating with mental health clinics. ”

Rework payment methods

Re: Set recommends that local clinics can help by setting up an interim payment for individuals whose insurance does not have coverage or co-payment for sessions during multiple therapy sessions. Group therapy is another way of ‘helping to reduce fees and still ensure that people have diverse options to choose from’.

Core Cause

According to sources in the insurance industry, co-payment – where the insured has to put a certain percentage out of his pocket – is unlikely to be part of the process. (Co-payment percentages are usually set at 10-20 percent of each transaction. If you have a co-payment function, you ensure that the insured does not have access to medical facilities for every serious illness, thus contributing to the insurer’s accounts. .) As far as employers are concerned, it will be almost impossible to absorb more costs related to their group medical policies. Already this year, during the renewal, many businesses significantly reduced the scope of their group policies and saved costs. This allows employees to make the most of what is available. But it will not be easy. For someone whose mental well-being is due to his or her financial situation, paying a health care consultant can be very good. “It makes you have to think twice before you need the help you need, and it can lead to delays in seeking support, while exacerbating mental health challenges during that time,” Tangri said. No one needs to feel guilty or find out where they are going to get the money from to get support for mental health. ‘Accessible resources for mental health are the necessity of the hour, especially in light of the pandemic, and therefore it is important that financial costs be reimbursed. Companies must also provide credible and affordable mental health resources. ”