World Cancer Day 2020 and Health Insurance in the UAE
World Cancer Day is an annual event designed to spread awareness of this chronic disease. The UAE has participated in the event as well. Incidentally, what you’ll mostly find in articles discussing World Cancer Day are steps of prevention, diagnostic tools, and what to expect during the process of recovery. Very seldom do we talk about health insurance and its inclusions for cancer.
Healthcare Structure in the UAE
The healthcare structure in the UAE is slightly different. It boasts some of the best medical services and state of the art medical facilities. Subsequently, it has started receiving medical tourism – a term for people who visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi for its better healthcare options.
Along with an excellent medical infrastructure, and healthcare providers, the UAE also has a structured insurance network across these facilities to facilitate smooth service provision. There are many insurance companies operating in the UAE.
Types of Health Insurance
Four authorities regulate health insurance in the UAE:
- Ministry of Health and Prevention
- Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD)
- Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
- Emirates Health Authority (EHA)
There are various health insurance plans available:
Public Health Insurance Plans – Exclusively for Emirati citizens, public health insurance is free. It’s only exclusions are dental and gum exam, hearing and vision aid, and vision correction by surgery or laser.
Essential Benefits Plans (EBP) – Is basic level insurance meant for residents earning less than AED 4000 a month. EBP is the minimum insurance you can get in the UAE. It covers basic medical services and has a maximum annual coverage of AED 150,000 per year.
SANAD – This plan is meant for the dependants of residents in the UAE. This can be children and an unemployed spouse. SANAD doesn’t require any other document other than proof of residence and dependance.
Individual Plans – Private sector health insurance plans are available for those earning more than AED 4000 a month. Individual plans are for single individuals only and don’t include family.
Family Plans – Family plans cover dependants of the primary wage earner. Family plans are budget-friendly.
Corporate Plans – Corporations and companies need to provide health insurance for their employees. In Abu Dhabi, it is mandatory to cover employees dependants as well. It is not mandatory in Dubai.
Coverage for Cancer
As of 2019, the Dubai Health Insurance Corporation at DHA announced that the basic health insurance plan EBP will include coverage for three types of cancer.
Cervical, colorectal, and breast cancer will now be provided with full coverage under health insurance. In addition, AED 19 will be deducted from each EBP. This will be pooled as a resource for people in the Low Salary Band. This is to ensure that no one goes untreated for cancer.
“Cost of cancer treatment depends on a sum insured cap. But in case of these cancer treatments, there will be no sub-limit from 2019.” – Saleh Al Hashemi, an adviser to the DHA.
In fact, EBP policyholder’s already had a free screening for cancer on their plan. Now they also find coverage for three types of cancer treatments.
Treatment of Lung Cancer
Unfortunately, lung cancer did not make the list of full coverage. However, there is a stipulation for the treatment. A Pay-Per-Performance (PPP) system has been suggested.
“A partner will provide approved lung cancer treatment on a PPP basis. This means that if the treatment is not effective in the case of a particular individual in a stipulated time period, the partner will refund the costs incurred by the patient on the treatment.”
Cancer is prolific amongst all ages. Invasive surgeries and treatments aren’t recommended for patients who are 60+. Similarly, if the patient has more than one debilitating disease as well as cancer then the scenario becomes even more difficult. Therefore, the premium on policies for the elderly is higher. Additionally, if one person has more than one preexisting condition the premium goes higher.
Cancer is destructive. It invades lives, not just the patients. Cancer doesn’t discriminate, it affects everyone. Therefore, it is the duty of each and every one of us to play a part in fighting it on this World Cancer Day.
Originally published Feb 05, 2020 22:03:51 PM, updated May 05, 2021