The UAE is lucky to have such a comprehensive, government-funded healthcare service. At the same time, there’s a quickly developing private health industry that is delivering a high standard of care to all people. Healthcare regulations at all levels are making huge strides towards creating a healthier population.
However, costs are still on the rise. According to a 2018 report by Alpen Capital, the current healthcare expenditure is expected to reach over $104 billion by 2022. This is a sharp rise, and the market is growing rapidly. As the UAE continues to rank as one of the worlds top destinations for professionals and workers, it’s becoming a challenge to fight these growing costs in a way that’s efficient for everyone. Here’s what we can all do about rising healthcare costs.
Navigating Health Insurance Laws
Because healthcare varies between the Emirates, it’s not always clear when and where you’ll be required to purchase private healthcare. In Abu Dhabi, for example, employers are legally obligated to provide health insurance. This includes coverage in both public and private healthcare facilities.
In Dubai, a similar health insurance law is taking hold. Under this new law, only basic healthcare will be covered. This will include things like visits to the general practitioner, necessary surgeries, testing, and specialist care. Any cosmetic or unnecessary medical treatments will not be covered under this and will either require private insurance or out-of-pocket payments.
One way to ensure you have the right coverage no matter your situation is to simply purchase private health insurance. In Dubai alone, you can find all types of coverage, from just the basics to comprehensive care. If your health is at risk or you’re worried about paying large sums for unexpected expenses, opt for a more comprehensive plan.
Utilize Public Programs
To combat these rising treatment costs, take advantage of public programs and facilities. Even expats have access to a medical card which will allow treatment at any of the publicly funded healthcare facilities. Contrary to some popular beliefs amongst those from western countries, these facilities are equally as good as many of the private providers.
Expats from the United States might find a lot of similarities in the form of federal programs. Medicare is a similar option in the United States, though it’s intended for those 65 years and older. With Medicare, patients can choose between traditional Part A and B plans and also Part C, which is through a private provider.
While you’ll receive quality treatment with either Part A or Part B, having more options is ideal. With a Medicare Part C plan, also known as Medicare Advantage, you have the luxury of choosing the provider you want, your network of doctors, and coverage options. Ultimately, this is a smarter choice not only for your budget but also your health. You should certainly check out more about Medicare plans before deciding which one will fit you.
The same is true in the UAE. Having a private plan is a great way to supplement the publicly-funded healthcare benefits. While you will receive quality treatment regardless, having the luxury to choose what works best for you will help keep costs down overall.
Beware Common Health Problems
While life expectancy in the UAE is similar to Europe and North America, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect your health. There are a lot of unique health risks that come along with living in the desert. Due to the constant dust, a startling 14% of the UAE population suffers from asthma.
Aside from the dust and dryness, heat stroke, sunburn, and dehydration are common. It’s always good to take care of your health and to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and dust. While the AUE is a beautiful place, it’s harsh on the body. All of these small exposures add up to big medical costs if you aren’t careful.
Call in Care with Telemedicine
In some parts of the UEA, it might be difficult to find qualified healthcare professionals. While this isn’t true in the large cities where prime healthcare is plentiful, it is true in many areas around Gulf countries in general. Telemedicine is an affordable solution to this demand.
Through telemedicine, it’s possible to communicate directly with a qualified healthcare professional through a computer or smartphone. Thanks to the growing availability of WiFi connections and mobile networks, this is connecting people across the globe to the best health services. Telemedicine is a solution we can all afford, and it’s making the world a healthier place one call at a time.
Everyone deserves access to affordable healthcare. While the UAE is lucky to have so many qualified healthcare professionals and facilities, costs are still rising. Employers are beginning to offer healthcare to employees, and this is only the first step.
In the next few years, we can expect to see developing technology like telemedicine make healthcare even more accessible. Beyond this, we can all take strides to protect our health in the harsh desert. Ultimately, we should be thankful healthcare is available and inexpensive. Let’s be sure to keep it that way.