Dubai: A newlywed from India visiting the UAE with his lady-love has been hospitalised with multiple fractures after he met with a road accident in Dubai.
But as Prabhu, a 29-year-old from Tamil Nadu, lies on the hospital bed with a fractured leg, shoulders and ribs, it’s not just the trauma he has to deal with.
“Prabhu has been in hospital since October 16. The bill is mounting with each passing day and has already crossed Dh75,000. He can’t afford it and neither does he have health insurance,” said a family member.
As a number of visitors like Prabhu are learning the hard way, travelling without health insurance can prove burdensome in the case of an emergency.
Ahmad Al Nuaimi, director of the health funding department at Dubai Health Authority (DHA), told Gulf News, “Plans are under way to extend the health insurance coverage to include visitors to Dubai. We are looking at introducing mandatory health insurance cover for visitors and this is likely to be implemented before the end of 2019.”
Currently, premiums for travel insurance start from as little as Dh40. But what do such policies cover?
Roopesh Punjabi, director, marketing of Earnest Insurance Brokers, said, “Inbound travel insurance has an inbuilt cover for medical emergencies, accidental death and repatriation. Most policies give a basic coverage of up to Dh150,000 if there’s a medical emergency.”
The visitor travel health insurance plan by one insurance company, for example, provides emergency medical cover for accidents and sudden sickness. It also pays an insurance cover up to Dh5,000 in case of accidental death and reimburses costs (up to Dh7,500) incurred during the repatriation of mortal remains to the country of residence. The premiums are Dh40 for a cover of 30 days, Dh90 for 90 days and Dh185 for 180 days.
Punjabi said it is important to declare pre-existing conditions while applying for travel insurance because claims can otherwise be rejected.
A Dubai-based videographer said his mother had a bad experience on this count. “A chronic diabetic, she was visiting us for three months. Within 10 days, she suffered a multi-organ failure arising out of diabetic complications. She had a travel health insurance from India but had not mentioned her pre-existing condition. The hospital expenses came to up to around Dh35,000. Her claims application was rejected and we had to cough up the amount.”