In an age where lifestyle diseases are affecting and killing millions by the year and ailments such as cancer are becoming increasingly common, a solid insurance cover is the only glimmer of hope that we have in case life throws up an unforeseen challenge.

Wonder if your insurance plan covers life-threatening diseases? Here’s a piece of welcome news – in its New Year gift to millions of residents living in Dubai, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has taken a landmark decision to provide unlimited coverage for three types of cancer treatments as well as Hepatitis C under the basic insurance package.

Is my basic plan getting an upgrade?

Yes, think of it as a major upgrade with minimal extra cost. As you are already aware, residents of Dubai earning up to AED 4,000 per month are required to have an Essential Benefits Plan (EBP), which provides coverage for medical emergencies, maternity services and access to select clinics and hospitals for regular medical care. With an ambitious healthcare goal in mind, the DHA has decided to scale up the basic benefits plan to include chronic diseases like cancers and hepatitis C, which affect countless people every year. The program, part of the Basmah initiative, will help EBP holders avail the best cancer treatments in the country and eliminate the worry of exorbitant expenses.

[Related: Essential Benefits Plan – The answer to your health insurance worries?]

Unlimited coverage at minimal extra cost

An amount of Dh19 will be added to your health insurance policy premium and collected as part of a trust to cover the costs of treatment for low-salaried workers. The fund will help provide unlimited coverage to patients who have limited means and are battling diseases like cervical, colorectal or breast cancer. Till now, the sum covered for treatment was capped at Dh150,000 under the basic package. Under the new changes, there will be no sub-limits for select treatments and screening will be part of the package too.

Support to those living with Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a disease that causes inflammation and infection of the liver and affects those who contract the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Presently, 0.23 of Dubai’s total population is living with Hepatitis C (HCV). However, the DHA aims to fulfill the World Health Organization’s vision of HCV elimination by the year 2030. Keeping that in mind, the new initiative plans to help patients with limited coverage by allowing them free screening and treatment. Along with financial support, the program will help in early diagnosis and reduction of HCV-related complications.

Ensuring benefits for all

The initiative comes as a new hope for low-salaried workers such as labourers, housemaids and other blue-collar staff who did not have access to proper treatment and facilities. The program reflects the DHA’s initiative to bring all working classes under the ambit of quality healthcare. In fact, the authority is also holding discussions with a world-class pharmaceutical company to introduce pay-per-performance for treatment of lung cancer next year. In other words, if the treatment is not effective within a stipulated time period, the company will be liable to refund the costs incurred by the patient on the treatment.

[Related: Does Health Insurance Cover Chronic Conditions?]

Companies offering Essential Benefits Plan

Presently, twelve companies in Dubai are authorized to provide the essential benefits package. The companies include Axa Gulf Insurance, Takaful Emarat, Dar Al Takaful, Orient Insurance, Ras Al Khaimah Insurance, Daman health Insurance, Oman Health Insurance, Metlife Insurance, National Insurance Company, Noor Takaful, Abu Dhabi National Insurance and Union National Insurance. Looking to buy a new cover or upgrade your existing plan? can help you compare multiple health insurance quotes in less than a minute.