In a welcome new directive announced by Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) Dubai Health Insurance Corporation (DHIC), it is now compulsory for all insurers to cover a newborn child at birth. With an aim to eliminate the prevailing gaps in a newborn gaining access to health insurance covers, the directive has removed the extended wait times that all newborns had to face earlier to get covered under an insurance policy.

What’s changed?

Earlier, several insurers imposed a minimum six months of waiting periods on newborns to get insured, even when being added on to a parents’ policy. The waiting periods were enforced on account of delays in documentation, and various other reasons. This meant that if a newborn is in need of medical help during this period, the expenses would not be borne by the insurance company and will have to be paid in full by the parents. However, with the new directive in force, insurance companies can no longer enforce a waiting period and must issue insurance to the newborns within 30 days of the date of birth.

[Related: Buying Health Insurance in the UAE: More Than Just a Formality]

A case in point

There have been a number of cases in the UAE where parents have been burdened with massive bills to cover the cost of care towards their newborn child. A case reported by Khaleej Times highlights what the directive could mean for newborns and parents in UAE. In 2017, Camellia Mohammed gave birth to a premature baby boy named Omar at 24 weeks of pregnancy. Omar weighed just 600 grams at birth. The struggle that ensued to pay the medical bills for Omar’s treatments did not come without a fight. After a long and arduous process, Camellia was able to claim AED 140,000 from her own policy and claimed AED 400,000 from Omar’s policy. However, the family was still unable to claim insurance coverage for the rehabilitation costs involved.

Omar’s case is just one among the several stories that have come to light in view of the extended waiting times levied by insurance companies and the lack of coverage in cases of premature birth. The new directive by DHA will alleviate the stress and struggle that parents go through in paying hefty bills, especially in cases where babies are born premature.

What you should know

The new directive entails that newborns will be covered under the mother’s health insurance for 30 days or until the annual limit on the mother’s policy has been utilized. Following this, parents can arrange for a separate cover or add the child under their policy which will now not be subjected to waiting periods of any kind, even for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will also be providing the newborn coverage with the same Table of Benefits as that of the family’s insurance. Also, backdating upto a maximum of seven days is allowed for newborn additions for coverage from the date of birth. The new policy will be subject to underwriting conditions of the group or policy, however, this is not applicable in case of Lower Salary Band (LSB) members.

While the new directive comes as a sigh of relief, it is vital to acquire a proper insurance coverage for your child. Compare health insurance plans for your family at and find the best insurance policy for your needs.[