Top Ways to Slash Healthcare Costs in UAE

If you think the double vaccination followed by booster shots is your rock of Gibraltar amidst the omicron-dominated fourth wave of the virus. You and the people around you might be in trouble. It’s not us who say that but the statistics from the world over. We almost reached on the verge of throwing our masks away and getting back to our normal life and lifestyle but this reversal of fortune turned the whole blue planet topsy-turvey one more time. Although it was well predicted, the world was not yet willing and prepared to battle one more invisible sworn enemy. There seems no end in sight to this un-ending wave of Covid-19 pandemic. These turbulent times is all the more reason why you should not sell your birthright for a bowl of soup. Parties, celebrations and vacation trips can wait but treatments can’t. And we all are in the know how deeply health and finance are intertwined and how rapidly the virus is eating up humans and their rainy-day fund.

The brutal coronavirus alone has told the world that it’s you who is accountable for your wellbeing, not anyone else. A healthy body with a wholesome mind and a salubrious soul is worth all the tea from China! But it should not burn a hole in your pocket. From getting up early in the morning to jog or meditate to taking a short break from work for yoga to taking steps instead of elevators after a lunch break at the workplace to running errands on foot to strolling in a nearby park after having dinner, people from all walks of life are one way or the other adopting practices that can benefit their health. There are endless thrifty ways to keep yourself hale and hearty but not everyone is capable of reaping the benefits of them. And the ever-rising costs of healthcare can have you break the bank if you don’t care about your medical expenses.

Advancements in healthcare have beefed up life expectancies and quality of life and of course medical bills to boot. UAE, especially Dubai, can rip you off in the blink of an eye if you fall sick. Public healthcare in UAE is free for Emirati nationals only. Non-residents including tourists might have to shell out a fortune for their treatment at a hospital or clinic. If you are an expat living in Dubai you can better understand what we mean. Expatriates can’t undergo even the covid test without forking out at least AED 50 imagine the cost of the treatment. Throwing its weight about, the healthcare industry is working like a charm amidst the pandemic when almost every other industry is going through its worst during the ongoing pandemic. But today we are not here to discuss themost profitable businesses in the UAE but about how you can keep yourself and your loved ones in fine fettle without breaking the bank. Rein in your healthcare bills in UAE before your endeavours to stay in good shape start undermining your years of earnings. Keep reading to learn how.

A good health insurance plan is indeed your “friend in need”: Protect who matters the most! Taking health insurance is no less than buying peace of mind! Imagine you have been squirrelling away little by little for years to take your family on a holiday trip to Miami this new year and end up forking out on your doctor fees and medication bills just because you skimped on a quality health insurance plan that includes the Covid-19 treatment along with vision and/or dental benefits. Health insurance covering the majority of illnesses is the need of the hour especially in the light of the difficult phase that the whole world is going through. Health insurance in the UAE covers emergencies, surgeries, tests, medication, maternity, and both inpatient and outpatient treatments. If your monthly earning is less than AED 4,000 you may opt for an Essential Benefits Plan which covers your dependent/s as well. However, there are some limitations to the EBP such as an annual claim limit capped at AED 150,000 and emirate-specific emergency treatments. There is a wide range of affordable health insurance plans in the UAE. Shield yourself and your family from unplanned expenditures by taking one that fits your pocket and more importantly suits your and your family’s health requirements the most. When choosing a plan, think about the health needs of you and your family. For instance, if you have someone diabetic in your family you might want to pick out a plan with higher premiums to ensure most of their health costs are covered. Contrary to this if you don’t need medical care as part of your healthcare regime, then choosing a plan with a higher deductible and lower monthly premiums can be a great idea. This will help you save a buck or two. Do not forget to compare prescription drug coverage while picking your health care plan. Metlife Alico, National Health Insurance Company, AXA Insurance, Oman Insurance, Takaful Emarat and RAK Insurance are some of the most affordable health insurance providers in the UAE.

Know low-cost or free medical service providers in UAE: Who in the world doesn’t love the word “Free”?!You sure have availed of numerous free services in your home country. But unfortunately, the UAE doesn’t offer any of the free services to its expats (except people of determination and senior citizens), whether education or health care. Taking a health insurance cover is mandatory for all Dubai residents. From locals and non-residents to visitors and tourists, every person in the nation is required to pay for consultations, treatments and medicines, and the choice of clinic or hospital is usually ascertained by the health insurance held by the individual. Simply put, there are no medical services in the UAE that are free of charge. For Emirati nationals there are. However, in case you have no health plans you may also enjoy free medical treatments in Dubai at the Pakistan Healthcare Association, the University of Sharjah, and others by paying nothing or just a nominal one-time yearly registration fee. Expats of all nationalities in the UAE who cannot afford health care or belong to low-income groups are served at no cost or subsidized rates respectively in these free medical facilities. Be informed, you need to reach early at these free medical facilities and queue up waiting for your turn as the doctors and health care professionals at these centres see limited outpatients (20-25) per day. Residents and visitors can also take advantage of free medical camps that are organized by clinics, hospitals, banks and corporates as a part of their promotional activities to lure new customers or to create loyalty amongst existing customers and employees.

Don’t delay your treatment: Without a doubt, medical facilities in the United Arab Emirates are of supreme quality but expensive too. Not everyone in the nation can afford these pricey medical treatments. That’s where free medical service providers come and save you from splurging on doctors and health care professionals. What’s most important for your well-being is you treat your ailment as soon as you notice it. We totally understand how difficult it is oftentimes to make your way to a doctor for yourself when the problem you are suffering doesn’t appear that serious. I still remember, how avoiding a pint-sized cavity in my molar, that could have been fixed in just AED 120 or so, threw me to the route to a root canal that burned an AED 1800-sized hole in my pocket. See how a stitch in time saves nine! So, before a serious health problem disrupts all aspects of your life disturb a little your timetable and make some room for a visit to a doctor you think you don’t need at the moment but might need later. A healthy body is the most valuable asset of your life and with a little care, time and effort you may keep it intact for a long long time.

Choose outpatient facilities over inpatient hospitals: If you have to undergo a procedure or surgery that do not require an overnight stay in the hospital for monitoring, check with your healthcare provider if you can get this done at an outpatient clinic. Usually, getting care at a clinic is cheaper than going through the same procedure in a hospital. Savings achieved by having done surgery at an outpatient medical centre rather than in an inpatient surgery hospital that requires admission do not come alone but with various benefits such as the lower post-surgery infection risks, convenience of recovering in your home, along with fewer delays and shorter wait times.

Cut your prescription costs: Spiralling pollution and an unhealthy lifestyle can have you visit the doctor time and again. Old diseases also require one to make frequent rounds of medical stores. You can’t cut down on your prescribed medicines but medical bills for sure if you:

  • Turn to generic brand drugs because they are less expensive for often being produced locally, unlike branded ones that are usually imported from other countries and are equally effective. Thanks to the Department of Health (DoH) that allowed the dispensation of cost-effective generic medicines in all pharmacies across Abu Dhabi a couple of years ago.
  • Do not hesitate to ask your healthcare provider if they have cheaper alternative medicine that treats the same condition. Today patients have more choices of medications that have the same active ingredients but at affordable prices.
  • Order your medicine through the mail. Medicines can be couriered from one country to another. “Individuals may bring medicine into the country for their personal use. Up to three months’ supply of a prescription item can be brought into the country by a visitor and 12 months’ supply by a resident if they can produce a doctor’s letter or a copy of the original prescription.” – says the UAE embassy.
  • Adhere to your medication as directed. Not completing the prescribed treatment course may worsen the health problems leading to further drug therapy expenses.
  • Keep your eyes out for deals online. You may save on your bills significantly on your routine medicine and other equipment. Case in point: diabetes care products and rapid test kits.

Make the most of your benefits: Don’t skimp on quality medical insurance or health plan. Nothing better than having a backup plan for unforeseen health-related issues. There are health plans that provide health advocates or case managers who can help you manage complex health problems such as dental problems, diabetes or asthma and get the most of your benefits. Furthermore, some health plans offer discounts on things like gym memberships or eyewear also. Utilise free and discounted services before they expire. In addition, avoid procrastinating your periodic health screenings. These tests help you detect health problems before it gets more serious or incurable. And you in many cases do not have to cough up a copay for health screenings, vaccines, and annual wellness visits (AWV). Pregnant women can take prenatal care seriously to keep other serious problems at bay that might crop up during or post delivering the baby and of course to ensure you and your baby are fit.

It can be difficult for many to spare time and energy to work out regularly or cook healthy meals. That’s where health plans come and support you in your difficult times. A good health plan can help you thrive throughout your life. But finding one that squarely fits into your needs isn’t always easy, however. You may ask your acquaintances, friends and relatives if they have some information about that. Every expatriate needs private medical cover in Dubai. Always buy a health plan that meets your requirements to get mental peace for the rest of your life.

Take care, safety first: They say prevention is better than cure. And we can’t agree more. The easiest way to save money on your health care is to stay fit. We know how it is easier said than done. Saying no to your favourite doughnuts and cakes and that drool-worthy mutton keema can be the toughest job for you, especially if you have got a foodie soul. It’s important to keep a weather eye on your weight as it is a strong indicator of your general health. It’s no more a secret that staying at a healthy weight, intaking plenty of water, doing exercise regularly (in any form like swimming, cycling, etc.) and not smoking lower your risk for myriad health-related issues. And the catch here is a healthy lifestyle with good habits helps you steer clear of pricey tests and treatments for ongoing conditions such as thyroid, blood sugar or cardiac disease. Furthermore, double mask up, keep sanitising your hands, eat home-cooked food and try to avoid going to crowded places. Be good, if you can’t be good, be careful! Remember, safety should be your first priority particularly during these turbulent times.

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