Dubai: Mental health, ayurveda and homeopathy now part of basic insurance plan, says DHA


Dubai - The scheme is expected to come into effect in two months.

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Fri 9 Jul 2021, 8:09 PM

Last updated: Fri 9 Jul 2021, 8:40 PM

Mental health and alternative medicine treatments such as ayurveda and homoeopathy will now be covered under basic health insurance plan in Dubai, according to a Dubai Health Authority (DHA) circular.

In its latest circular dated July 7, 2021, the DHA stated that it has upgraded the health insurance scheme in the emirate and issued new mandates and requirements to be included in the essential benefit plan issued in Dubai.

According to the revised plan, basic health cover in Dubai will now include mental health and psychiatry, ayurveda and homeopathy, which were so far not covered in basic insurance cover – essential benefit plan, which is availed of by low-income workers with salary of up to Dh4,000. The scheme is expected to come into effect two months from the date of issuance of the circular.

The circular stated that psychiatry and mental health inpatient, outpatient and emergency coverage will be up to Dh10,000 per annum, with outpatient to get 20 per cent coinsurance payable by the insured per visit.

Alternative medicine cover for homeopathy and ayurveda is up to Dh2,500 yearly with 20 per cent coinsurance payable by insured for outpatient per visit, as per the circular.

Practitioners hail move

Practitioners and people who vouch by alternative medicine have hailed the extension of health cover as a welcome move that will give low-income workers access to this form of treatment that was earlier linked to only those with high-end insurance plans.

Dr V L Shyam, medical director at Dr Shyam’s Ayurveda Center in Dubai, said: “It is not just the consumers who will benefit from the inclusion of alternative medicine in basic insurance plan. It is also an added advantage for the system of medicine and the healthcare delivery system in the UAE as it will offer a natural cost-effective approach that all can avail of irrespective of their salary bracket. Ayurveda clinics can now expect more outpatients and it will help the system to cater in the primary care level.”

He added: “Ayurveda shouldn't be a treatment option only for the elite or limited to the expensive scheme. The 5,000-year-old wisdom should reach humanity without geographical and economical limitations and this move promises that.” Dubai-based homoeopathic specialist Dr Nayan M Ganatra, who recently was awarded the golden visa for his practice, said alternative medicine has always been a popular mode of treatment for people in the past, however, many were unable to avail it due to insurance constraints.

“Some patients may have benefited from homeopathy in the past but is unable to avail of the treatment now due to insurance constraints. The move will help patients get the right medical care as earlier people would cut corners to avail of the treatment free by not going physically to the doctor for consultation to avoid fees or charges of the doctor but would just consult their friends, who are taking homeopathy treatment, or call up their homeopath doctors in their home country. This way the treatment provider also suffers and the patient also suffers in the long run,” Dr Ganatra said.

He added that post Covid, a number of patients also suffered from poor mental health so the mental health and psychiatry cover was much needed and will help many patients get the right consultations and counselling they need.

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