Basic insurance in Dubai to cover diabetes

Published March 18th, 2015 - 09:33 GMT

In a move that will benefit hundreds of thousands of diabetic patients across the emirate, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has said that screening, care and treatment for the chronic disease will be covered by the basic insurance scheme that is being rolled out in phases until 2016.

Patients visiting general practitioners (GP) in private or government hospital, clinics and so on will be told if they are borderline diabetic and if they require to be screened for the disease, said a senior health official on Monday.

Officials said the cost of uncontrolled diabetes with complications is 25 times more than the cost of controlled diabetes based on which the authority implemented the unified Dubai standards of healthcare for diabetes management.

“Diabetes screening is a part of preventive screening which is one of the features of the essential benefits package (EBP) that everyone with mandatory insurance in Dubai is entitled to. Therefore, every person in Dubai who has risk factors for diabetes will have access to diabetes screening as part of their insurance package and, every healthcare provider in Dubai will follow the same standards in provision of diabetic care for both diabetics and pre-diabetics,” said Dr Haider Al Yousuf, director of health funding at the authority.

The premium for this EBP package will range between Dh500-700 per person per year while the monthly cost for a diabetic can average Dh2,000 based on his health condition.

The UAE is currently ranked 16th worldwide with 19 per cent of the population living with the disease.

“According to 2014 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) statistics, the UAE has 740,000 diabetic patients and more than 900,000 undiagnosed cases of diabetes,” said Dr Haider. “As per the DHA’s e-claims data of the private health sector in Dubai in 2014, Dubai had an insured population of 1.9 million; of these 138,000 have type 2 diabetes and 7,000 have type 1 diabetes,” explained Dr Haider, adding that Dh732 million was the cost of treatment of these patients in 2014.

Essa Al Maidoor, director-general of DHA said: “Implementation of the mandatory health insurance scheme provides us with unique opportunities to detect patients with chronic diseases and to use this data to gauge trends and device evidence-based policies to tackle chronic diseases.”

“Dubai standards in healthcare for diabetes are needed because of the prevalence of the disease. The cost of uncontrolled diabetes with complications is 25 times more than the cost of controlled diabetes. At a later stage, the authority will implement Dubai standards of healthcare for other chronic diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, bronchial asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and proper use of antibiotics to treat upper respiratory tract infections,” he added.

“Diabetes screening is a part of preventive screening which is one of the features of the essential benefits package (EBP) that everyone with mandatory insurance in Dubai is entitled to. Therefore, every person in Dubai who has risk factors for diabetes will have access to diabetes screening as part of their insurance package and, every healthcare provider in Dubai will follow the same standards in provision of diabetic care for both diabetics and pre-diabetics,” said Dr Haider Al Yousuf, director of health funding at the authority.

The premium for this EBP package will range between Dh500-700 per person per year while the monthly cost for a diabetic can average Dh2,000 based on his health condition.

The UAE is currently ranked 16th worldwide with 19 per cent of the population living with the disease.

“According to 2014 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) statistics, the UAE has 740,000 diabetic patients and more than 900,000 undiagnosed cases of diabetes,” said Dr Haider. “As per the DHA’s e-claims data of the private health sector in Dubai in 2014, Dubai had an insured population of 1.9 million; of these 138,000 have type 2 diabetes and 7,000 have type 1 diabetes,” explained Dr Haider, adding that Dh732 million was the cost of treatment of these patients in 2014.

Essa Al Maidoor, director-general of DHA said: “Implementation of the mandatory health insurance scheme provides us with unique opportunities to detect patients with chronic diseases and to use this data to gauge trends and device evidence-based policies to tackle chronic diseases.”

“Dubai standards in healthcare for diabetes are needed because of the prevalence of the disease. The cost of uncontrolled diabetes with complications is 25 times more than the cost of controlled diabetes. At a later stage, the authority will implement Dubai standards of healthcare for other chronic diseases including irritable bowel syndrome, bronchial asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and proper use of antibiotics to treat upper respiratory tract infections,” he added.

Healthcare practitioners, 700 of who are being trained, will ensure patients get the same care including everything from screening to medications and diet.

However, to prevent misuse of insurance, the authority has set conditions for treatment approval. “We are in the transitional phase where more and more people are becoming part of the mandatory insurance scheme, which is presently being rolled out in phases and the entire population is expected to have insurance by mid-2016. Once a person has access to this mandatory insurance scheme, he or she automatically has access to at least the essential benefit package (EBP), if not more. The EBP covers both screening for diabetes and treatment for diabetes and its complications. The only exception is that insurance will not cover any pre-existing chronic disease for the first six months for people who have not previously had insurance in the UAE. This condition has been put in place to avoid abuse and fraud. However, if the person is presently living in Dubai and already has insurance and moves to another insurance policy, this condition will not apply.”

 


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