News Coronavirus watch29 Sep 2020

UAE:The rich take to healthcare during COVID-19

| 29 Sep 2020

The attitude of the rich in the UAE towards the country's healthcare system improved during the COVID-19 pandemic - with an increase in approval for public and private medical systems alike.

Three quarters of the respondents to the Bupa Global Executive Wellbeing Index said their attitude improved. The index analyses the effects of the pandemic on the world’s high-net-worth (HNW) community.

In tandem, the pandemic also increased scrutiny of medical insurance policies with three in 10 (29%) now expecting coverage for private treatment for infectious illnesses and 28% for preventive care, such as health checks and vaccines. In line with the uptick in mental health issues, over a quarter (28%) think policies should include maintenance of good mental health as well.

The index, which surveyed almost 2,000 HNWIs and senior business executives based across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia showed that despite concerns about the economy and mental health, global executives have been quick to see potential benefits.

The report revealed that HNWIs in the UAE are amongst the most optimistic about post-COVID-19 economic recovery, compared to their counterparts in Egypt, UK, US and France. Despite the economic slowdown, the study found that 88% of respondents in the UAE felt optimistic about local market recovery in comparison to an average of 50% in the other markets. However, there is greater uncertainty amongst UAE’s HNWIs about global prospects, with only 38% feeling optimistic that the world economy will bounce back – slightly higher than the average global sentiment which remains at 26%.

The pandemic has brought about extensive physical and emotional fallout. In the UAE, mental health challenges are significantly higher compared to the rest of the world. More than a quarter (28%) complained of burnouts, compared to 17% globally and a fifth (21%) experienced obsessive or compulsive thoughts, compared to just 10% globally. Respondents also reported more cases of sadness and anxiety (35%), mental exhaustion (28%) and mood swings (27%) and almost a quarter (24%) reported feeling helpless or hopeless; significantly more than the global average (15%).

Bupa Global general manager for the Africa, India and Middle East Dean Pollard said the pandemic “has generated a significant shift in behaviour and will certainly reflect on the way business is conducted in the long term”.

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