Boost in Dubai health insurance coverage scheduled for 2018
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Boost in Dubai health insurance coverage scheduled for 2018

Get ready to mark your calendar. As early as the beginning of 2018, essential benefits plans (EBPs) will receive a boost in coverage. What are these extra coverage benefits? The extension is due to include cover for programs to treat various cancers. It is also likely that essential Dubai health insurance benefits will cover the cost of certain types of cancer screenings (e.g. mammograms).

In addition to these extensions, a top official from Dubai Health Authority (DHA) says stringent regulation of premiums will also come into effect in the near future. To help you understand what you can expect from your medical insurance cover in 2018, this article takes a deeper look at the anticipated policy benefit extensions in Dubai.

A transformational phase in healthcare

In line with the DHA’s aim to “provide an accessible, effective and integrated healthcare system”, the Emirate has achieved a number of key milestones since its inception in 2007. The introduction of eClaimLink, a portal used to manage claims and health data, and Salem, a smart system that will make visa medical screenings faster, are just two of the many innovations implemented by the DHA. These technological innovations, coupled with the introduction of mandatory health insurance in Dubai, have catapulted the emirate into a transformational phase in healthcare.

On the state of mandatory health insurance cover in Dubai, Dr Haider Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at DHA, commented: “All of this already exists to a certain extent. But in 2018, they will be implemented on a larger scale. While emergency coverage will be applicable to all visitors, essential basic packages for residents will also cover structured programmes in the treatment of cervical, colorectal and breast cancers, besides screenings of newborns and milestone’s in a child’s development.”



Background on Essential Benefits Plans

The EBP is a type of Dubai health insurance policy that employers or sponsors must secure for employees earning a monthly salary of AED 4,000 or below. All residents in Dubai are legally required to have health insurance cover that at least meets the EBP minimum level of benefits. These include:

  • An annual limit of AED 150,000
  • Pre-existing conditions cover (subject to a 6 month waiting period)
  • Inpatient treatment covered with a 20% excess
  • Outpatient treatment covered with a 20% excess
  • The cost of medication must be limited to AED 1,500 per person
  • Maternity services - up to 8 outpatient visits, up to AED 7,000 for normal delivery, and up to AED 10,000 for medically necessary C-section delivery (all covered with a 10% excess)

As we mentioned in the introduction, it is anticipated that the minimum level of cover will expand to include cancer treatment and screenings cover.

Cancer treatment and screenings cover: What we know so far

Cancer is one of the major health issues in the UAE. In fact, it is the third biggest cause of death in the country after road trauma injuries and cardiovascular diseases. As such, top on the agenda of the UAE government is to bring down cancer fatalities by 18% by 2021. In order to help achieve this target, in 2017 the DHA’s Health Funding Department held a number of meetings with all insurance providers to negotiate the inclusion of cancer cover in EBPs.

Cancer screenings cover

As of the time of writing, the preventative services covered by EBPs do not currently include cancer screenings. In fact, usually only the more comprehensive plans that cover annual health checks will cover cancer check-ups. As such, many residents are currently unable to afford regular cancer screenings, the cost of which can easily go up to a few thousand AED. According to the Gulf News, however, a source from an insurance company in Dubai said preventative cancer screening tests will likely be covered in EBPs as early as the beginning of 2018.

Full cancer treatment cover?

While the Middle East Insurance Review has announced that cover of specific cancer treatment programs will soon be included in EBPs, there remains confusion over how exactly cancer treatment will be covered (e.g. whether there will be any excess attached to the benefit).

From what we know so far, a few months ago the DHA discussed in a meeting with Dubai insurers the idea of implementing full cancer treatment coverage in EBPs. This means that cover for cancer treatment will still be there even if a patient exceeds their annual aggregate limit of AED 150,000.

This has, however, been a cause for confusion among insurers. As the cost of cancer treatment can be anywhere between AED 100,000 and AED 300,000, it is likely that premiums will be affected. The formal announcement on the exact benefits that will be included in next year’s EBP expansion is due to be announced shortly.

Finding the best UAE medical insurance

Is your current health insurance policy enough for your needs? This might be a difficult question to answer on your own, especially if you are not well versed in the world of Dubai health insurance. Fortunately, help is at hand. By getting in touch with the experts at UAE Medical Insurance, you’ll be able to arrive at the proper answer quickly and without hassle.

Our experienced team can assess your current policy documents and compare them to your healthcare needs. If they are found to be incompatible, our experts will be on hand to answer all your questions, find you the best Dubai health insurance plan for your needs, as well as give you a free quote. Contact us today!


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