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CEO of AXA Gulf, Jérôme Droesch talks to My POLICY, and gives his expert advice on buying health insurance

Insurance health

Even in the Gulf region where the healthcare system is developed; there are still barriers to access quality healthcare and timely attention

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May 27, 2014 12:53 by



Some may believe that they have access to medical care because they can always go to an emergency room.

However, even in the Gulf region where the healthcare system is developed; there are still barriers to access quality healthcare and timely attention.

Fast facts

• A trip to the hospital can cost an adult on average: AED400 to AED1,500

• The average cost of a broken leg is: AED1000 to AED1,500

• An acute phase of a cancer can cost more than: AED500,000

The unpredictable moments of life should be given at least the same importance of insuring your vehicle or your home; thus, investing in health insurance is investing in your quality of life. Buying health insurance is a very important exercise, and one should go for the best policy that suits their needs. There are many variables that make a plan right for someone, weather for an individual, family or a small corporate. You would never choose the cheapest doctor, so never base your final decision on price alone.

Things to consider while making a decision on an insurance policy

• Everyone’s requirement is different therefore you should be very careful when choosing your cover to ensure it fits your needs, such as:

1. Know the network of medical providers which is available to you

2. It’s always better to go for insurance polices that include direct billing, as it is definitely an added value, specifically with an expensive bill

3. Always be aware that most insurance policies do not cover treatments outside your country. Take this in consideration when taking the decision

4. Enquire about the quality of service of the company. Most of the time it’s linked to the brand. Some examples could be service guarantees, claim declaration process etc, to ensure that the interactions with your insurer/medical providers will be smooth

5. For each cover carefully review if the limits and guarantees are aligned with what you expect, (ie annual maximum limit, what deductible and co-insurance you will be paying out of your pocket etc

• Read the terms and conditions carefully to know your exact rights and entitlements. This is the most important part of taking out any policy, but especially for health insurance

Tips for Individuals and families:

• Plan and identify the needs that might arise in the future, and where you want to be covered – such as sudden illness or medical emergency, which can occur anytime, maternity costs or children’s healthcare expenses etc

• Research the various options available and find out which policy is economical and effective in the long run for you and your family, as an individual or for your employees as a small corporate

• Check which hospitals, doctors and medical facilities you are willing to use and if it is available on the listed panel

What does AXA do to improve the customer experience?

By reviewing AXA’s product profile and their positioning, it is clear that our customers and their needs have been the driving force behind our business decisions. We have always believed in offering quality and innovation to our customers and all our insurance solutions are premium

In terms of service, we have succeeded in differentiating ourselves in the region, by keeping a personalised service despite the industrialisation and the automation of our processes. To achieve this, we have not only offered the best products to cater to different needs, but have also made them accessible either through our branches, shops, online or through our mobile services. Furthermore since we started in 2006, AXA has launched several activities, such as online payment.

You can fully purchase your health insurance on the web, with an online pre-approval portal, which will save time (90 per cent are completed in less than 15 minutes), an online claims reimbursement portal to accelerate reimbursements (98 per cent are done within ten days), and HAAD e-claims and AXA Medical Provider Locator – which is a simple user-friendly and coherent service, which enables customers to find the list of preferred healthcare providers in real time across the globe.

We will continue to invest in remaining close to our customers and respond to their expectations. We also want to ensure that customers see AXA as a one-stop insurance provider for all of their needs. Our strategy is to get closer to our customers and to be available whenever they need us.

What kind of cost/ coverage value should one look for in health insurance?

I am sure a lot of customers do their homework before signing up for a particular health insurance policy. Ideally, they will check for what is more important to them – the overall cost or comprehensive coverage. Once again, they need to ensure that they will choose the right insurance offer in line with their needs.

Please keep in mind that you would never choose the cheapest doctor, so make sure you chose the right health insurance for your needs. Don’t just look at the price – just keep in mind that a health plan is much more economical in the long run than the risk of major damage to your family’s finances. At the end of the day, it could be much more costly. So, make sure you understand the policy’s terms and conditions. It is very important to check the benefits offered such as but not limited to annual maximum limit, what deductible and co-insurance you will be paying out of your pocket, what is the available network under this plan, does the plan cover important benefits, such as pre-existing and chronic conditions, maternity, personal accident, most important in-patient treatments etc.

Considering this will ensure that you receive the best value and cover at the end of the year. It is very important to consider this if you travel a lot, because you will need to ensure that your policy covers you in other countries, since many policies do not. Understanding your policy thoroughly will avoid problems later on.



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