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26 May 2024

Access 350 medical specialists from the UAE

By Majorie van Leijen

When receiving medical consultation or diagnoses, the advice or explanation you receive may not always satisfy you. Especially when dealing with a severe disease, you may toss and turn over whether you should take the advice at hand, or, seek a second opinion.

Aware of such dilemmas, a global health insurance company has formed its own select team of medical experts consisting of, what they believe to be, the very best doctors in the world.

Axa Gulf has presented its plan called Sure Health (in addition to the existing policy), to customers. Health insurance providers may opt for the Sure Health Plan, which will give them access to 350 teams of experts around the world.

In a two-year period, a dedicated team travelled around the world to make up the pool of experts. "We based our selection on scientific ethics only. These are what we believe are the very best of the best," said Jérôme Droesch, CEO of Axa Gulf.

"When a customer is suffering from a severe disease, he or she may want to receive a second opinion on what the best treatment would be. Depending on the condition, our team will then select the specialist that would best be able to provide that opinion, and provide it to the customer," he explains.

As a step further and if the situation so requires, the team also offers assistance to the customers in booking an appointment with the specialists for a face-to-face review of the medical condition.

"The experts will provide the necessary advice as per the medical condition and his/ her diagnosis but the further course of action is dependent on the patient as well as the treating doctor," he adds.

Similarly, if the customer is not suffering from a severe disease but is doubtful where to go for the best medical treatment, the team recommends the best local specialist, he explained.

The new strategy extends the traditional role of health insurance provider from one handling claims to providing medical consultation. However, it’s an alleged dubious role as the selection of medical expertise has an influence on the premium the same company charges.

Aware of the role change, Droesch explained: "The insurance company must ask itself – is it a claims handler or a service provider?

"Since our inception, we have always tailored our products and services in line with the requirements of our customers. We have seen a lot of instances in life when people with medical conditions do not know where to turn for help. Axa Sure Health is a sure-shot way to provide the necessary support to customers throughout the decision-making process – be it access to medical experts globally; guidance and opinion on the medical condition; evaluation and recommendation on the treatment; and coordination as well as medical appointments with the experts.”

However, the launch of a new product also comes at a time when health insurance policies require revision in order to remain sustainable, he admits.

"Access to healthcare has improved, which is great, but this also means more frequent insurance claims for the insurer. In addition, medical inflation has caused the average cost of a patient to rise, as has the advancement of medical equipment. In order to lead a sustainable business, more diverse premiums should be offered," he said.

Although the cost of premium was not immediately revealed, Droesch said it would depend on the existing policy, as some already include access to international healthcare providers. The plan will be available from April this year.