Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 1 November 2020

Dubai health insurers must abolish six-month wait for baby coverage

The new directive says insurers must cover babies from birth and not impose waiting periods of 'any kind'

Yousif Ahmed, son of Ahmed Mohamed Yousif, was born prematurely and kept in intensive care for months, resulting in a huge bill. 
Yousif Ahmed, son of Ahmed Mohamed Yousif, was born prematurely and kept in intensive care for months, resulting in a huge bill. 

Insurers must provide health coverage for newborns from birth, rather than impose a six-month wait, a new Dubai Health Authority directive has stipulated.

Dubai babies are covered by their mother’s policy for the first 30 days of their life, or until the annual limit has been reached. Parents must then either arrange separate cover for the child or add them to their policy. However, a number of health insurers currently impose a six-month wait for newborns to be issued with or added to a policy.

The new directive will end this, instructing insurers that they must not impose waiting periods of “any kind”, including for pre-existing conditions.

"The aim of the directive is to ensure that there is no gap in a newborn having access to continuous insurance cover from the time of birth,” said Saleh Al Hashimi, chief executive of Dubai Health Authority's Dubai Health Insurance Corporation.

"After the 30 day period of cover under the mother's policy is over or after utilisation of the annual limit of the mother's policy, the new policy directive now stipulates that insurance companies must immediately provide the newborn medical insurance cover with the same table of benefits as the family's insurance. There will no longer be a waiting period."

The DHA directive, which came into effect on April 30, also stressed that newborns should be covered under their mother’s policy for 30 days and/or up to the annual limit.

There have been a number of cases in the UAE where parents have been hit with massive bills to cover the cost of the care for their newborn children. They include a family featured in The National’s helping hands series, Ahmed Yousif and his wife, who in 2015 were unable to cover a Dh240,000 hospital bill for their baby.

The boy spent three months in an intensive care incubator after being born at just 24 weeks gestation.

“My wife’s health insurance didn’t cover maternity,” Mr Yousif said at the time. “I paid additional for it to include maternity. Unfortunately, her health insurance came into effect right after she delivered. We had no idea that she would have the baby early.

“I couldn’t sleep at night ... I had no way of paying the amount back.”

Donations soon poured in from readers, and the entire hospital bill was cleared.

“Thank God and The National and Dar Al Ber and every person who helped us through these difficult times,” said Mr Yousif.

Updated: May 5, 2019 09:39 PM

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