News Middle East05 Aug 2020

UAE:COVID-19 aggravates strained ties between insurers and healthcare providers

05 Aug 2020

Ties between medical insurers and healthcare providers in the UAE are strained, raising the spectre of insurers suspending cover to medical centres in question, if no resolution is achieved shortly.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation has become more dire as healthcare operators saw a sharp and sudden decline in non-COVID-19 related cases.

The latest incident centres around insurers setting an end-of-the-month deadline for some hospital and clinic operators to reduce the cost of consultancy and other treatment costs, according to a report in Gulf News.

According to sources who spoke to Gulf News, negotiations are being held to reach a resolution. Apart from insurers, TPAs too are involved in the dispute with healthcare companies.

“The threat of removing cover is likely intended as a tactic to bring the healthcare providers to the negotiating table,” said a source at one of the leading insurance brokerage firms in Dubai. “Insurers feel these businesses are over-charging and they want to do something.

Tension between insurers and hospital operators has been rising since medical insurance became mandatory in Dubai. Over the last two years, relations became even more testy, with insurers refusing to pay out on any claim they feel is “inflated”.

Healthcare companies complain that the insurers are taking their own time to process claims, and this is hurting their business prospects. They point to a number of recent closures of healthcare facilities, primarily small and mid-sized clinics, as a result of insurers’ tight control over claims payments.

Hospital operators insist that they cannot compromise on overheads to run hospitals because they need to meet certain standards.

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