Dubai:Thousands of UAE residents are now able to use their Emirates ID not just to go through immigration gates at the airport, but to access healthcare services in the country.

One of the largest insurance providers in the UAE, Oman Insurance Company, has confirmed that customers can now either go for a health check-up or treatment, or pick up medicines at the pharmacy, just by presenting their national ID.

Clinics and hospitals around the country used to require patients to present the standard insurance card before they are granted consultation, diagnostics and medical treatment services.

A spokesperson for Oman Insurance told Gulf News that since February12 this year, they have moved away from the traditional screening and eligibility process, in support of government efforts in transitioning towards smart services.

“[The company’s] healthcare members can now present their Emirates ID instead of their medical insurance card as a proof of eligibility to use direct billing medical services,” the company said in a statement sent to Gulf News.

More UAE residents are expected to avail of the same service soon.

A top official of National Health Insurance Company Daman told Gulf News that they are on track to roll out a similar initiative, as pilot tests have already taken place to ensure a seamless customer experience.

The provider announced last year that it was working to meet the early 2017 deadline. At least 2,000 Emirates ID card readers were earlier distributed to medical facilities in 2015 as part of the smart initiative.

“We confirmed last year that we would roll out the initiative to our members beginning in 2017. We are on course to reveal further details very soon,” Dr Michael Bitzer, Daman chief executive officer, told Gulf News.

Bitzer said the integration of healthcare services into one card is made possible through the use of a secure online platform.

“Medical facilities across the UAE have been trained to use this advanced system and we look forward to rolling out the initiative across the UAE.”

“[With the initiative, policyholders] will benefit from the convenience of carrying just one card to access healthcare, while medical [services provider] are expected to benefit from efficiencies gained by processing patients through a simple portal,” added Bitzer.

Since 2014, the UAE government has been working towards incorporating a number of services into the Emirates ID, including immigration access, ATM use and electronic payments. At least 127 smart gates have so far been installed at Dubai International to enable travelling UAE residents to skip long queues at immigration counters.

As of November 2016, more than 234,000 residents were able to use their Emirates ID to pass through  immigration gates.