Healthcare ‘could cost $120,000 for uninsured in UAE’

October 16, 2018

Uninsured residents of the UAE could pay as much as Dh440,000 ($120,000) for breast cancer treatment out of their own pocket, should they not be covered, said an industry expert.

“Chemotherapy is extremely expensive and ranges between Dh25,000 and Dh40,000 per treatment in the UAE. Most women normally go through around 5 to 8 cycles of it, giving an indication of just how much the total bill can add up to,” said Hamzah Shalchi, regional director of Guardian Wealth Management in the Middle East.

Guardian Wealth Management is highlighting the importance of life and critical illness insurance this Breast Cancer Awareness month, by reiterating the potential costs that people may face if diagnosed with the disease.

“However, it can be much more. One example of a case I’ve dealt with, was a woman who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and needed urgent treatments of chemotherapy, which ended up costing Dh55,000 per session. Ultimately, she needed eight sessions, resulting in a total bill of Dh440,000. What’s more, radiotherapy can be even more than chemotherapy with one session at the American Hospital in Dubai quoted at Dh120,000.

“Many UAE residents are unaware of the risk that they take every day by not being adequately insured, but when it comes to your health, it’s just not worth it,” added Shalchi.
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in 140 of 184 countries worldwide, representing one in four of all cancers in women. Since 2008, diagnosis has increased by more than 20 percent, whilst mortality has increased by 14 percent.

With breast cancer cases on the rise, the importance of being adequately insured is as important as ever, so that patients can seek treatment whilst remaining financially secure.

“Many people think that because they have health insurance via their employment, they are covered when it comes to critical illnesses like cancer, which isn’t always true. Many providers do not cover the most crucial additional costs. For example, companies normally only provide paid leave for 15 working days a year. The time one needs off work when undertaking chemotherapy is much more than that, therefore all expenses must be taken into consideration.”

Having adequate insurance can not only help with treatment costs but can alleviate stress in what is already a difficult time.

“We have had clients who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and whilst they have been seeking treatment, we have helped them to pay off their mortgage by claiming on a critical illness policy,” said Shalchi.

“It’s not a nice thought but when it comes to needing help with bills, paying your mortgage or supporting your family, you must ask yourself are you protected, are they protected? Knowing you can cope when the worst happens will alleviate some of the stress allowing you to get on with your life. Before people start saving, it is crucial that they are protected.”

Advisors at Guardian Wealth Management advise that residents seek professional advice when choosing life and critical illness insurance for themselves and their families. Guardian Wealth Management work with the region’s best providers who will find and offer the best bespoke policies.

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