In Dubai, coverage for pre-existing conditions is mandatory by law. An insurance company cannot deny medical insurance to a resident or ex-pat with pre-existing conditions. The maximum waiting period cannot exceed six months, according to the new regulations of the Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai (ISAHD).
So, does this mean anyone in Dubai can buy medical insurance with pre-existing conditions and can claim benefits after the waiting period ends? The answer to this question is not straightforward because there is still a lot of scrutiny and red tape associated with pre-existing conditions.
To understand things better, first, you need to know what precisely pre-existing condition means. Not comprehending the meaning of pre-existing conditions can unnecessarily reject medical claims.
What does pre-existing condition mean in terms of medical insurance?
A pre-existing condition is a health condition known or unknown to the person applying for medical insurance. It also includes those conditions for which you have received consultation, diagnosis, surgery, treatment, or pharmaceutical drugs before purchasing the insurance policy.
More importantly, you need to be aware that pre-existing conditions don’t only refer to situations you have when buying a medical cover. Still, it also includes a complete medical history of any disease that you have suffered from within the last five to ten years. It can consist of past hospitalizations, heart attacks, surgeries, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disorder, skin disorder, and accidental injuries.
However, congenital diseases and congenital disabilities are not considered pre-existing conditions, and they are treated differently and may require a separate cover.
What You Must Know Before Buying Medical Cover for Pre-existing Conditions
- Under an individual plan, pre-existing and chronic conditions will be covered only when declared in the application form. The insurance may ask for the latest medical reports and ongoing medicine details to assess your current health conditions.
- Usually, insurers cannot exclude coverage for any preexisting condition. It may be excluded only when not declared in the application form, and insurers might consider covering it during the next renewal with an additional premium. Insurers typically load the tip to cover pre-existing conditions, depending on the medical history. Accordingly, an insurer will protect it from day one or put a waiting period of up to 6 months.
- Never lie about your pre-existing conditions in any scenario. While it may be tempting to hide pre-existing conditions, it subjects you to serious financial risk in the future. When you suffer from a significant and expensive medical emergency, and the insurer comes to know about your pre-existing condition after buying the medical coverage, they can reject your medical claim even if the medical emergency is not related to the pre-existing condition.
- Even though the waiting period of up to 6 months is attached to medical insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, the Dubai Health Insurance Corporation (DIHC) allows the waiting period to be waived off if a pre-existing condition develops into an emergency.
- Group or corporate medical insurance usually has a 6-month waiting period on policyholders with pre-existing and chronic conditions for the first scheme (when buying insurance for the first time in the UAE). Also, if insurance has expired for more than a month, an insurer will consider it the first scheme.
- In case of a job change, the insurance company of the first employer is required by law to provide medical cover for 30 days after the cancellation of the policy to ensure continuous access to the medical insurance cover. However, if the policy expires earlier, the cover will be offered until the expiration date.
- When joining a new company, make sure that you share your previous insurance proof to get continuity of coverage, or else six months waiting period will apply.
If you have one or more pre-existing conditions, choosing the right medical insurance plan can be complicated.