6 Months Waiting Period Clarified for Pre-Existing Health Conditions in the UAE
If you are an expatriate and new to Dubai, then here are two important points to be aware of when securing health insurance:
- It is mandatory to have health insurance during your stay in Dubai.
- Pre-existing health conditions are not covered during the initial six months when applying for the first time.
Although there are many other aspects of health insurance that are equally important in Dubai (see our blog article for further reading), this article by Pacific Prime Dubai will specifically clarify the notion of the six-month insurance waiting period and the reason why it is in place.
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) Insurance Law
Under the Dubai Health Authority’s insurance law, insurers in Dubai are not permitted to deny individuals mandatory health insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions, although treatment for any pre-existing condition may initially be excluded for the first 6 months of coverage.
This wait of 6 months is also known as the waiting period. This is the period of time you must wait after signing up for insurance until it becomes effective. Since terms and conditions can vary from one insurer to another (and even one policy to another), waiting periods may be different as well. However, it is important to note here that if a pre-existing condition happens to develop into a serious medical emergency, then the waiting period must be waived for that episode.
Waiting Period for Mandatory Health Insurance in the UAE
Pre-existing health conditions are not covered during the initial six months when expats are applying for mandatory health insurance for the first time.
According to the CEO of Dubai Health Insurance Corporation (DHIC):
“Waiting periods are a standard practice in many insurance policies but predominantly seen in the health insurance sector to prevent an unnecessary rise in annual premiums.”
The purpose of the waiting period is to prevent people from securing insurance only to cover the cost of an illness or surgery that they are completely aware of as supposed to securing insurance as a security for when it is most needed.
Interestingly, this mechanism wards off individuals who seek to make quick claims from the onset of having coverage. Insurers are keen to prevent people from abusing the system and keeping the system sustainable.
If waiting periods were not in place, then what will inevitably happen is that an influx of individuals will migrate to Dubai from the surrounding region to take advantage of treatments at 10 times higher than the premium they had purchased their policy for.
In turn, the result would be catastrophic for the insurance sector as the effect will most definitely drive up premiums for the population in subsequent years. The cost of insurance in Dubai will increase and put a burden on individuals, families, and businesses.
What is a Pre-Existing Condition for Health Insurance
To keep it short and simple – pre-existing conditions are medical conditions that you have before your insurance policy starts.
Pre-existing conditions and health insurance form a hot topic when it comes to choosing the best health insurance coverage. Chronic, often long-term diseases can be persistent and plague many that suffer from them. It is, therefore, essential to make sure any medical needs will be covered under a pre-existing health insurance plan in Dubai.
A pre-existing condition can refer to the following:
- A condition you already have, but you are not aware of (for example, a form of growing tumor (cancer)).
- Symptoms that you have yet to seek medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or consultation (such as pain, lumps, swellings, bleeding, etc.).
- A past injury or illness that you have already recovered from (such as a broken foot from your youth).
- Any ongoing treatment you are currently receiving (such as medications or other forms of therapy).
What are the Pre-Existing Coverage Options Available to Insurers?
As already mentioned, all insurance plans sold in Dubai must cover pre-existing conditions for individuals that are residents in Dubai. However, for plans sold outside of Dubai, insurers will tend to treat applicants with pre-existing conditions in one of five ways:
- Provide full coverage of all conditions, including pre-existing conditions, with no premium loading or exclusions.
- Cover your pre-existing conditions but with a premium loading.
- Cover pre-existing conditions after a moratorium period. This is most common in Dubai.
- Exclude coverage of your pre-existing conditions, but cover you for everything else.
- Refusal of coverage entirely.
Need to Speak to Someone About a Pre-Existing Health Insurance Plan?
With the vast array of pre-existing health insurance plans in Dubai, determining the best source of support can be a challenging and mammoth task, especially for someone who has arrived new and with their families.
On the other hand, the process of securing private health insurance is made easier and simpler with the help of a health insurance intermediary, like Pacific Prime Dubai. Pacific Prime Dubai’s health insurance experts can provide a free quote and make substantial comparisons from a number of Dubai’s reputable insurance companies.
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