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A Great New Deal for Medical Tourists in Dubai
Posted on Apr 13, 2016 by Travis Jones
A new program announced by the Dubai Health Authority recently could lead to discounted airfare and accommodations for people visiting Dubai for medical tourism. How does this system work? What's the catch? Read on to find out more.
Moving to Dubai can be an exciting experience for many expats. A city with such amazing sites and rich culture can satisfy even the most ardent wanderluster. Of course, no matter who you are, there’s no place like home, and as well all know, it’s really our friends and family that make going home such an attractive prospect. What can sometimes feel even better than going home, though, is when home comes to us. Yes, when family and friends let us know that they’ll be stopping into Dubai for a visit we will likely want to take time off from work just to show them around. What’s more, we will bend over backwards to help with the planning of travel, accommodations and activities. After all, travel can be expensive, so being good at finding travel deals is a valued skill among the expat community. Thankfully, the Dubai Health Authority is actually taking steps that could help expats in Dubai have loved ones visit as part of their plan to dramatically increase the number of medical tourists travelling to the emirate. How does this work? Let’s have a look!
New Online Portal
On April 11, 2016 the Dubai Health Authority launched a new tool aimed at attracting medical tourism to Dubai. An online portal was created where medical tourists can book appointments online, but they can book much more as well. In partnership with Emirates Airline and others, the online portal will also allow medical tourists to book discounted airfare and hotel rooms, as well as their Dubai visa and reservations for other local activities.
One major caveat to the system as it currently exists to this new program is that insurance MUST be purchased along with treatment, airfare and accommodations in order to take advantage of the package. Otherwise, any application through the portal will not be processed. This likely due to the imminent rollout of Phase 3 of the new DHA reform that will require all people entering Dubai to possess private health insurance coverage. This will be no problem for those living abroad that have health insurance without international coverage, as they would need a new insurance plan to enter Dubai and cover the costs of treatment anyway. Those possessing international medical insurance plans already, though, may have to bite the bullet and purchase a local Dubai plan in order to take advantage of the travel discounts. Weighing the value of this is likely to be paramount for people who fall into this camp.
All of this comes as part of Dubai’s focus on increasing medical tourism to at least 500,000 patients annually by 2020. Beyond programs such as this, Dubai’s healthcare system will be creating new medical facilities and instituting new technologies such as robotics and telemedicine. Excellence in customer service will also be essential for reaching the goal. On this point there has been recent good news, as 90% of Dubai patients surveyed reported that they were happy with their treatment. Other recent reports estimate that by 2020 Dubai will see medical tourism revenue reach approximately US$710 million.
First off, it should be noted that if complications of treatment received in Dubai develop, the emirate will allow the patient to return to the UAE free of charge, and corrective treatment will also be given at no cost.
As far as insurance is concerned, a cursory search of the portal website (found at www.dxh.ae) reveals that the medical insurance on offer is a policy specifically provided by Allianz Global Assistance, and comes in the form of a ‘one size fits all’ plan that covers medical expenses up to US$50,000 per insured person. While the site does not publish a premium cost for the primary policy holder, it does mention that accompanying family members can also purchase the policy for just 150 AED each.
Of course, if you feel that the package offered through the portal is not adequate for your needs, whether you need local coverage in Dubai only or an international health insurance plan with cover around the globe, UAE Medical Insurance has the plan for you. Contact our helpful sales agents today to find the plan that fits your needs best.