Tag Archives: Insurance

Importance of Medical Insurance in Multinational Pooling

Jacque Vilet – Vilet International

Many companies with employees located in many countries globally provide supplemental benefits in addition to those that are government mandated.   Many of these supplemental plans are insured:   life, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D), disability, retirement, etc.   Typically, the office in each country location manages their own process of selecting insurance companies, types of coverage, comparing premiums and settling on the final contract language.   Sometimes the number of employees is very small and, therefore, the premium is high because the risk is spread over a small number of people.

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Five Secrets to Reduce Benefits Cost, Part 2

George Bashaw – Atlas Global Benefits

I developed five secrets to lowering your benefits cost without changing your plan design or carrier. Out of the five, I am confident at least one will help you. I posted the first one last week.  Here is number two:

Secret Two:  Duplication of Coverage
Every year, I find a new plan that has duplication of coverage, where a company is  paying for a benefit more than once.  This is most common in very large companies, and ones that that have experienced multiple mergers.

Case Study: Duplication of Coverage
Last year I discovered that a new client had three  Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs).  Of the three, they only knew about two of them, and communicated only one to the employees.  One EAP plan was a rider attached to a long term disability contract.  Another was a rider attached to the international expatriate medical coverage.  The third was a standalone EAP plan.

We decided to scrap the standalone plan and keep the two riders.  We felt the rider on the expat plan served the international employees needs far better than the other two plans.  Further, we decided to keep the rider on the LTD plan.  Even thought it was a rider, it was a good plan and it was less expensive than the standalone plan.

Financial Impact
Cleaning up the duplication of benefits in the scenario above took about two hours to analyze and saved my client about $50,000.  Even though the savings was insignificant in comparison their total benefits cost, we would not have reached our goal ($500,000 of total savings) without eliminating the duplication of coverage.

Scour Your Plan Designs
Have someone take the time to look at all your plans and see if you can find a duplication of coverage.  Who knows, you may be paying for something two or three times.

I would love to here where you have found duplication of coverage.

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Employer Mandated Health Coverage in Dubai

George Bashaw

George Bashaw – Atlas Global Benefits

On January 1st, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) initiated the first phase of employer mandatory health insurance for expatriates and UAE nationals working in Dubai.  All expats new to Dubai must obtain a Health Benefit Contribution (HBC) compliant insurance policy.


The population of Dubai has exploded from 300,000 to 1.5 million since the Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS) was created over thirty years ago.  Considering the growth and significant demographic changes in Dubai, the DoHMS has done an adequate job (World Health Organization ranks the UAE 44th).  Did I say something in “Dubai” is “adequate”?  The two words are mutually exclusive. In Dubai, they simply strive for the best.  Therefore, the DHA was established to accomplish this goal by 2015.  What does this mean for you?

Existing Plans

If you manage an existing health plan in Dubai, it is valid until it expires. Upon renewal during 2009, the new plan must be HBC compliant.  By January 1st 2010, all corporate health plans must be HBC complaint.

Payment and Administration

Who pays the HBC?  The employer pays the tab.  The HBC is a flat-rate for all employees, including UAE nationals and expatriates.  There is another hitch.  All HBC policies must be sold by authorized insurance companies. Since most employers will provide benefits above the notional standard, there is a group of authorized insurance companies waiting to sell you a top-up plan.

Choosing a Clinic

Not so fast.  All employees must choose a primary clinic to complete enrollment.  They can do so by visiting an OCP (Outpatient Care Practice)clinic in person, on the web www.dha.gov.ae, or through their employer.  Want the good news?  The employer may choose a default OCP clinic.

Employer Responsibilities

Just so there is no confusion on the rules, I copied this from the DHA website: 

  1. This is a mandatory system enforced by law – employers must comply
  2. Every employer pays a standard payment (HBC) to the DHA for every employee once a new HBC policy is introduced
  3. System will be enforced through a licensing system
  4. All employees covered by a corporate healthcare scheme by 12/31/08
  5. Employees not currently covered by an existing corporate health scheme must be provided with a HBC compliant scheme from 1/1/09
  6. Everyone covered by HBC compliant corporate healthcare scheme by 12/31/09
  7. Every employer is responsible for enrolling every employee with DHA
  8. This includes contractual responsibilities for dependents
  9. Every employee most register at a clinic before employer enrolls them with the DHA
  10. Employers to help employees register with a clinic

 Still have questions?

You are welcome to visit the DHA but I would rather you just ask me.

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What do I need to know about the “war risk” rider for my BTA or AD&D plan?



George Bashaw – Atlas Global Benefits

The US State Department has already issued three travel warnings in the month of April for Georgia (gun fire and violence), Sudan (possibility of violence and harassment targeting westerners) and Central African Republic (armed rebel groups and bandits). Do you have employees working or traveling to the Middle East, Africa, or South America? If so, they may not be covered if you do not have war risk.

War Risk

War risk is a type of insurance that covers your employees due to acts of war, invasion, insurrection, rebellion and hijacking and may include weapons of mass destruction. Concerning benefits, war risk is a commonly excluded rider on Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) and Business Travel Accident (BTA) policies unless specifically requested.

What to look for:

Make a list of all the countries where your employees are traveling and make sure the insurance carrier has not excluded one of these locations. Typically, carriers classify dangerous countries “hot spots” or “hot zones” by area of severity. Notify your broker or carrier so the carrier can assess the risk and include these hot zones.

What if the countries you travel to varies depending on assignments and cannot be predicted? Disclose the known countries and request an annual audit to be performed at the end of the year.  An initial down payment is typically requested ($500 is fair).  This will give you flexibility to report known travel exposure at the end of the year. The carriers should be able to retroactively bill you for “actual” exposure.

Annual Audit vs. Fully Insured

Most carriers can offer War Risk as either a fully insured plan or an annual audit.  If you elect the fully insured plan, you will be paying a premium on an estimated exposure.  Depending on budgets, your company may prefer a ‘known’ premium for this coverage.

Annual Audit is the other alternative.  As previously mentioned, the carrier will perform an audit at the end of the year and bill for “actual” exposure.  In my experience, the amount charged back based on actual exposure will be less than the estimated amount in a fully insured offering.  In addition, the carrier rarely seems to conduct these audits annually when the policy is prepaid.

Cost and Payment Options:

BTA is one of the least expensive benefits your company can offer. Adding war risk is a great idea if you have any employees that travel outside of the US.

Typically there are three options for paying this premium: annual premium, annual installment, and three year prepaid.

Three year prepaid is the way to go. It is typically over 10% less expensive and you are less likely to get an annual audit. Plus, it is about the only benefit you will not have to renew next year. If you cancel the policy before the end of three years, most carriers will refund any “unused” premium.

If you want to pay every year, you should choose the annual installment over the annual premium since it will also be offered at a discounted rate (around 5%). The annual installment is essentially a rate guarantee for three years. No penalty if the policy is canceled prior to three years.

This is the skinny on war risk. Please let me know if you need your policy evaluated or if you have any questions.

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