As part of Basmah initiative, 21 cancer patients are being treated for free at Dubai Hospital. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News archives

Dubai: Dubai-based expats with the basic insurance package will get unlimited coverage for three types of cancer treatment and Hepatitis C from January 2019, a top official has said.

Those who have Essential Benefit Plan (EBP) will get this insurance cover, said Saleh Al Hashemi, adviser to the recently formed Dubai Health Insurance Corporation at Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

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Saleh Al Hashemi, Dubai Health Authority adviser Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

“A sum of Dh19 will be deducted per health insurance policy from January and pooled into DHA’s trust account to help cover the costs of cancer treatment for Low Salary Band (LSB) workers. Under the Basmah initiative, this fund pool will be used for patients with cervical, colorectal and breast cancer, who have exceeded the sum insured for treatment of cancer,” he told Gulf News.

Al Hashemi explained that the sum of Dh19 was over and above the basic index rate of Dh550 being charged for the EBPs. “After great research on financial feasibility, we have arrived at the sum of Dh19. Usually under the EBPs, the total limit of expenditure is Dh150,000 for different treatments with sub limits. Cost of cancer treatment depends on a sum insured cap. But in case of these cancer treatments, there will be no sub limit from 2019.”


companies approved for Essential Benefit Plan by DHA

As of now, EBPs get free cancer screening and now with this new initiative, the EBP holders will be have best cancer treatments accessible to them. Already as a pilot under Basmah, 21 cancer patients are being treated free in collaboration with some pharmaceutical companies at the Dubai Hospital.

Hepatitis C

This is first of three patient-friendly initiatives that DHA has announced for all health insurance policy holders. They also plan to tackle Hepatitis C and lung cancer with some free-of-cost initiatives.

By the first quarter of 2019, the DHA will adopt a similar initiative for screening and treatment of Hepatitis C, said Al Hashemi. Hepatitis C causes inflammation and infection of the liver. This condition develops after being infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

The fund pool will help cancer patients whose treatment costs exceed the sum insured by their health policies. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News archives

Al Hashemi said that the initiative was being taken in sync with the World Health Organisation goal of eliminative HCV by 2030. “Elimination of HCV is part of Dubai’s vision 2021 goal. The programme will especially help those with limited coverage, it will lead to early diagnosis and reduce complications and provide financial and emotional support to patients with Hepatitis C,” said Al Hashemi.

“We are using data from our e-claims link to understand the nature and extent of illnesses based on the medical history or our e-claim links. It is the source of our study and future plans,” said Al Hashemi.


insurance companies licensed by DHA to provide insurance

The DHA has introduced preventive diabetic and neo natal developmental screening free of cost under EBP. Preventing screening will make for a healthier population and reduce the burden of health expenditure he added.

Lung cancer treatment

For treatment of lung cancer, the DHA in conjunction with a partner will introduce ‘Pay per Performance’ (PPP) system. “A partner will provide approved lung cancer treatment on PPP basis. This means that if the treatment is not effective in the case of a particular individual in a stipulated time period, the partner will refund the costs incurred by the patient on the treatment.”

60-plus expatriates

Al Hashemi clarified that health insurance for 60-plus expatriates is available at a minimum Dh4,000 per annum. The 12 companies providing the EBPs are listed on the DHA website However, if these residents have several co-morbidities, such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and cardio vascular disease, the cost goes up, he said.


insurance products are available for consumers in Dubai

“It is understandable if a person has preconditions the cost of health insurance goes up. Dubai is an open market and no insurance company will sell insurance at a loss. If a person requires more than basic coverage, premium services or has illnesses which require more expenses, then the cost of premium will go up. People in the age group of 60 and above who are being denied health insurance can approach the Dubai Health Insurance Corporation with evidence. We resolve these issues on a case-by-case basis,” said Al Hashemi.

In figures

• 12 companies approved for EBP by DHA

• Total 49 insurance companies licensed by DHA to provide insurance in Dubai

• 4.7 million population (that includes expatriates and Emiratis) with health insurance cover which is 99 per cent cover

• 12,280 insurance products

• 27.4 million electronic claims on e-claim links in 2017