Employees should discuss maternity insurance coverage during job interviews, according to the CEO of Capital Health Dr Mishal Al Kasimi
Women in the UAE will likely benefit from an increase in maternity insurance as more private companies provide coverage, according to the CEO of Abu Dhabi-based healthcare group Capital Health.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Dr Mishal Al Kasimi said he has seen a rise in the trend in the past five years.
“Insurance is starting to cover maternity more for women who work in the private sector.
Five years ago, less companies were covering maternity. Now, the trend is seeing more companies covering maternity, which removes challenges for employees to pay out of their own pockets,” he said.
While more firms are taking the matter of maternity insurance more seriously, Dr Al Kasimi said the increase is not high enough, adding that the private sector is “not quite there yet” when it comes to offering expecting mothers coverage.
The average cost of giving birth in government hospitals is around AED6,000, while prices in private hospitals range from AED11,000 for a standard delivery room and can run as high as AED22,000 for a VIP room.
Dr Al Kasimi said the UAE’s rates are in line with international standards, and expats are given enough “reasonably priced” options to choose from.
“There are a lot of different packages depending on what type of room you want. But there are enough hospitals and programs that expats could choose from that offer good prices,” he said.
The chief executive added that employees should discuss maternity insurance during job interviews.
“When being interviewed [for a job], people need to talk about [maternity coverage]. People focus so much on their salaries, but do not talk about their insurance. Five years ago, we wouldn’t have even discussed it. But now, some companies are offering it and I think it will get more covered as women demand for it more in the next five years. We will see an uptake in that,” he said.
While many expats decide to deliver abroad for fear of high pricing and insufficient care in UAE hospitals, Dr Al Kasimi expects more women to give birth in the country as awareness surrounding reasonable pricing and high quality rises.
“Most expats feel comfortable to deliver [in the UAE] today. As you know, giving birth is more than just a medical process. It’s a family event and it’s a huge milestone in a family. Sometimes the main reason people decide to leave is because they want to be surrounded by family in their home country,” he said.
“The other fact is that previous perceptions were that the UAE’s hospital systems are not equipped or ready for deliveries, but today we provide the same quality as the US, Canada and Europe,” he added.
He also explained that while many people perceive the paper work for new born babies to be “complicated” a lot of elements are easily done in the UAE.
“Those were drivers early on but they are changing. Now the process is easy. A lot of women tend to do their research and homework. They know there are great facilities and that the process to register your baby is now nice and easy to do. So you will see an upward trend of a lot of people delivering here. I can guarantee you that you can have world class birth here in the UAE at a reasonable cost,” he said.