The thought of being hospitalized when you are away from home can be one that comes with a great deal of anxiety for many people
16 January 2019| Last updated on 17 January 2019
This is especially true for new arrivals that are not in the know about anything related to the Dubai healthcare system, let alone ready to trust it with serious potentially life threatening health issues.
And if there’s any disease that people will want to have as much support and comfort for as possible, it’s cancer.
Any expat in Dubai that receives a cancer diagnosis will no doubt feel like their world is being turned upside down. Fortunately, living in Dubai affords residents with the opportunity to seek medical care at medical facilities that are among the very best in the Middle East.
Then again, there is also the issue of payment. Here, Pacific Prime Dubai clues us in on new developments with regards to addressing cancer treatment costs in Dubai.
Addressing the costs of Dubai healthcare
Costs of medical care in Dubai’s private hospitals can certainly be relatively pricey when compared to their public counterparts.
What’s more, many expatriates in Dubai will hail from countries that provide subsidized care that comes at a very low cost, or sometimes is entirely free, so there may be some amount of sticker shock when they see the amount that treatment in a Dubai private hospital can cost.
What’s more, while Dubai expats may have access to quality health insurance through their employer-provided group health insurance policy, sometimes such plans simply aren’t enough.
For example, Essential Benefits Plans, which provide the bare minimum level of health coverage required by Dubai law, only need to provide AED 150,000 (~USD 40,000) in annual benefits. Meanwhile, the costs of a monthly course of chemotherapy alone are potentially up to AED 32,000, and rising.
So, in the event that your annual medical costs are more than your insurance plan’s annual maximum, you will have to pay the additional costs out of pocket.
This is a scary thought, but the burden of medical debt is all too real for many people in Dubai, and around the world. Fortunately for you, expats in Dubai have now been given access to additional resources to better address the costs associated with the treatment of certain types of cancer.
New scheme for cancer treatment
The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has announced the establishment of a fund under the new Basmah initiative that is specifically designed to assist people who have maxed out whatever cancer benefits their insurance policy may have provided to them. One catch here is that the fund is only to be used to cover costs for the treatment of colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer.
How prevalent are these types of cancer in the UAE? The most recent data we could find states that the statistics for each are as follows:
- Colorectal cancer – 30% of all cancers diagnosed in the UAE are colorectal cancers. In 2014, it was reported that 177 males and 83 females in the country were diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
- Cervical cancer – It is said that 1.8 million women in the UAE are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Almost 100 women in the country are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. In 2017, 28 out of the 93 women diagnosed with the disease passed away as a result.
- Breast cancer – This is by far the most common cancer diagnosed among women in the UAE, amounting to 568 cases in 2014.
Overall, the Health department of Abu Dhabi has stated that there are 4,500 new cases of cancer of all kinds in the UAE each year, and that number is set to double by the year 2030. Perhaps that is why the DHA has taken proactive steps to ease the financial burden that the disease can bring to individuals and families in Dubai.
So who can make use of these funds? The government announcement on the matter stated that expats with Essential Benefits Plans who are considered Low Salary Band workers will receive unlimited coverage for the three cancers mentioned above, as well as Hepatitis C.
The scheme started from January 2019, so should be available at the time of this article’s publication.
Money for the fund will come directly from money paid for each insurance policy sold or renewed annually. It also establishes a new ‘Pay per Performance’ system for lung cancer treatment.
Not covered by the fund?
There’s a chance that you are an expat that has an insurance plan in place that is superior to an Essential Benefits Plan, which means that this announcement doesn’t actually help you much. Nevertheless, your existing medical insurance plan may not have a maximum benefit level that you are comfortable with, and may not have coverage for certain ailments that you would like to have covered.
If this is the case, there are places you can turn to for help. By partnering with an experienced broker like Pacific Prime Dubai, you can get a quick and free comparison of the best available Dubai health insurance policies for your needs, as well as a free price quote. Contact them today, and they will be happy to answer any and all of your Dubai medical insurance questions.