Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here
November 29, 2016 | 16:20 | Dubai
According to a research conducted by ‘Cost of Living Reports Middle East’, medical expenses in the UAE are the highest in the GCC. A visit to a mid-level GP in the UAE costs an average of AED 288, which is about six times higher than in Oman.
The UAE also tops the charts for costs of specialist, executive health checkups and investigations like the MRI. As per Trade Arabia News Service, each person in the UAE is estimated to spend about AED 4,400 per annum on medical care. Despite health insurance becoming mandatory in the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with employers providing basic medical insurance, residents of the UAE still spend a considerable amount out of pocket to cover their treatment expenses.
Hence, having sufficient health insurance coverage is imperative and buying an insurance cover early on comes with its own set of benefits. The following points highlight why it is not advisable to delay buying a health insurance cover.
Why Buy Medical Insurance at an Early Age
With treatment costs in the UAE being very high, in the event of getting sick or meeting with an accident, you can end up shelling out a lot of money on medical expenses out of pocket; especially if you are underinsured or don’t have adequate insurance. To give you an indication of the quantum of expenses you may have to bear, provided below are the approximate costs of some procedures in Dubai.
These expenses may be too steep for a middle-class family to arrange at a short notice. Hence an insurance cover will safeguard you against financial stress in the event of an unforeseen medical mishap.
Another risk is that when facing medical costs that are not covered by insurance, you may tend to delay or even forgo needed preventive care & services, thereby putting your personal health at stake.
In addition, when you have adequate health insurance to handle any medical emergencies, you can focus on making other long-term investments.
The annual premium for a health insurance policy is directly proportional to the age at which you apply for the insurance. If you take a policy at a younger age, you can avail a lower premium. For example, the premium amount for a 30-year-old who is going in for a basic policy with a cover of AED 250,000 is approx AED 2,400. On the other hand, if the same policy is taken by a 40-year-old, the annual premium will go up to AED 3,300.
Usually, to manage employee cost, employers provide basic insurance plans to their employees. These insurance plans may not suffice to cover your medical costs. Apart from this, you also run the risk of being uninsured when you are switching jobs or during unemployment.
Hence you need to independently look at your insurance requirements based on – your age, family medical history, number of dependents, healthcare costs in your city, upcoming medical expenses like maternity etc. and choose a plan over and above what your employer buys for you.
Due to the sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits, occurrence of diseases is on a sharp rise. As you get older, you are more prone and vulnerable to a number of diseases like diabetes, blood pressure etc. Many health insurance providers in the UAE do not give coverage for pre-existing conditions. Hence, taking up a policy at a younger age when you are healthier would ensure that you are covered against the eventuality of the diseases catching up later on in life. The coverage would start after the waiting periods requirements are met (usually 30 to 60 days from date of purchase of the policy).
Lesser Wait times: Most insurance policies will have a wait time of 30 to 60 days i.e. for this period after purchase of the policy, you cannot make any claims. The policy may also have several different wait periods for specific procedures and disease conditions. Buying a health insurance policy at a younger age when you are physically fit therefore has a big advantage as you can finish the wait periods without much concern. Also, some insurance policies have much higher wait times for policies given to people over 60 years of age.
Better terms of policy and bonuses: When you take a health insurance policy at a younger age, you get more attractive schemes with benefits like lesser co-pay percentages, higher coverage, better no claim bonuses etc. ‘No claim bonus’ is the amount of bonus you get in the absence of claims in that year. If you buy a health insurance policy at a younger age, you are more likely to avail this bonus year on year, thereby resulting in huge increments in your coverage amount by when you really need it.
A healthcare insurance policy can safeguard you against a lot more than just hospitalization expenses. New policies available today also cover preventive health checkups, medications, day care procedures, OPD charges, investigations etc. Maternity cover is also a part of most policies in the UAE. Also, your new born will be covered from birth without any additional premium.
You can take up various top-ups and riders to cover dental, ophthalmic and other types of conditions that are not life threatening, but can still be very expensive on the pocket.
Summary: With healthcare expenses skyrocketing, the cost benefit of having a medical policy is undeniable. It gives you peace of mind and safeguards you and your family against financial breakdown in case of a medical eventuality. Buying a medical insurance cover early on, adds to the benefits as it gives coverage that is more comprehensive, premiums that are lower and helps you avail more benefits and perks.