At least 2,000 Emirates ID card readers have been distributed to clinics in Dubai and many more are acquiring them. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: At least seven of the 12 insurance companies authorised to provide Essential Basic Package (EBP) are now accepting Emirates ID as the chosen validation card, replacing the conventional insurance card.

The companies, which have linked medical insurance with Emirates ID are Orient, Oman, Daman, RAK, Noor Takaful, Dar Al Takaful and Takaful Emarat. Eventually all insurance companies are expected to link a resident’s insurance details to the Emirates ID, reducing the burden of carrying extra plastic, said Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, director of public health funding at the DHA. “We want to make things more simple and streamlined for the residents,” he added.

At least 2,000 Emirates ID card readers have been distributed to the clinics and many more clinics are in the process of acquiring these in Dubai. It is expected that by the end of 2017 most of the clinics will begin accepting Emirates ID as the preferred document for insurance coverage validation.

A statement by Oman Insurance to Gulf News on Monday said: “Our health care members can now present their Emirates ID instead of their medical insurance card as a proof of eligibility to use direct billing medical services.”

Patients with medical insurance cover from these providers can present their emirates ID at the clinic. The card reader captures the metadata, including the type of health insurance cover, policy number and type of insurance plan.

However, one insurance broker cautioned that it was advisable to always keep your policy number and plan nomenclature handy. “This has happened to one of our clients where he presented his Emirates ID but the clinic could not extract information about the policy. The system is still not perfect and it is always better to have your insurance details with you just in case,” he said.

Some residents feared that the linking of the insurance card with the emirates ID would mean the cover would end with the end of residence visa. “Even if my company has covered me for a year and I were to lose my job in six months, it would mean the moment my visa expires I will not be entitled to get access to health services,” said a worker at a city clinic.

Dr Al Yousuf explained: “Basically a company provides coverage to an employee so long as he is employed and the moment his visa is cancelled he has 30 days to use the health services as the health insurance is linked to his visa.”