Oman Insurance Company and Bupa offer Dubai SMEs medical cover

OIC and Bupa said that SMEs in Dubai and the Northern Emirates want health plans that can be upgraded, enhanced and extended to include families of their employees as they look to retain talent.

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Oman Insurance Company and Bupa Global have launched tiered international private medical insurance plans to cater to small businesses in Dubai looking for more than the mandatory level of cover.

OIC is among health insurance companies approved by Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to administer the minimum health plan under the emirate’s mandatory health insurance law for employers.

However, OIC and Bupa said that SMEs in Dubai and the Northern Emirates want health plans that can be upgraded, enhanced and extended to include families of their employees as they look to retain talent.

“SMEs are starting to adopt long-term recruitment and talent retention strategies to support business objectives,” said Malcolm Wright, the head of partner commercial distribution for OIC.

The costs of the plans were not provided.

The owner of a restaurant in Dubai, which employs 16 people, including himself, said that the extra cost for an international health plan may be difficult to justify amid the rising expense of running a business in Dubai. He paid Dh650 per person last year for the ­basic Essential Benefits Plan.

“But the DHA essential plan is a basic one that requires 30 to 50 per cent co-pay for some treatments, forcing one of my employees recently to go back home to Pakistan to get the treatment done,” he said.

SMEs contribute 40 per cent of Dubai’s GDP and employ about 42 per cent of the emirate’s workforce, according to Essam Disi, the director of strategy and policy at Dubai SME. There are more than 150,000 SMEs in Dubai.

Bupa Global said in October that it had 600 SMEs with 6,000 staff in the Dubai and Northern Emirates enrolled in its various plans. The number of its SME clients has grown by 5 to 7 per cent since 2015 as the mandatory health insurance requirement in Dubai took effect.

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