H.E.A.T 2016: Day 1: Cognito: “Status of health insurance in Middle East: What India can learn?”- Mr. Ali Zaidi-General Manager, Aafiya Medical Billing Services LLC UAE

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In an interactive session with students of T.A. Pai Management Institute, Mr. Ali Zaid, General Manager, Aafiya Medical Billing Services LLC UAE spoke about Health insurance. He started by asking students on their queries regarding health insurance and beautifully designed the session around them. He stated that health insurance can be classified into 4 categories- Compulsory, Voluntary, business to business and social health insurance. He emphasized that all the medical claims in India which started in 1984, had only offered by 4 PSUs until 2001. He also spoke about Third Party Assurance companies (TPA) which started off as IRDA in 2001 and that currently there are around 28 TPAs. He elaborated that TPA industry in India is only an industry that started off in 2003.

In India, there are only 40-45 insurance companies and only 20% of the population is insured. The private sector forms about 5-10% of the health insurance industry. The regulatories in India with respect to health insurance is not as strict as in other countries. For example, in Dubai, it is a compulsion for every citizen to be insured. The problem lies in tier 1 and 2 cities because they don’t understand the importance of health insurance. There is a need for more awareness about the importance of health insurance.

The health insurance industry is not known for making profits. The pricing in this sector depends on a lot of factors. The government has a large role to play in the penetration of the health insurance industry in the market. In the future, there will be very few insurance companies, known was preferred insurance, will have the right to issue policies. This will help insurance companies make profits and avoid price wars.

Mr. concluded by saying that the people in UK and UAE have more faith in government hospitals than private because of their facilities and this is the vast difference between those countries and India. In India, the coverage is wide, unlike other countries where the use of the policy is restricted as this reduces the cost. This helps them earn profits.

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