National health insurance company Daman is to add 350,000 UAE nationals to its membership under a proposal by the Abu Dhabi government, the company said.
The move will push the number of people having insurance through the firm to more than one million, its CEO Dr Michael Bitzer told Emirates Business. He said Daman, which already has 950,000 members, will manage the new initiative on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government for its citizens.
“Daman will have a role in the insurance for UAE nationals. In a way, we will not be the insurer but the manager on behalf of the government. The government will pay the claim and we will manage everything for the nationals. There will be a new product, adding an additional 350,000 members, but it has not been decided when to start. Since it is a government initiative, it requires co-ordination with health authorities and the organisations managing government hospitals.”
Dr Bitzer said the initiative will be launched this year. “It will be released as soon as final decisions are made by the government,” he said.
He also revealed there were new products in the pipeline, such as insurance cover for breast cancer screening. “We continuously evaluate the market and develop new products based on customers’ requests – breast cancer screening, for example, which is currently not covered,” Dr Bitzer said.
He said Daman will continue to focus on the local market in 2008. However, the company was looking to enter the wider GCC market next year, as well as the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) market. “It is our vision to expand in the Mena area, and into other GCC countries. But we have not decided which markets we are going into and when. We are currently in the evaluation stage to see which ones are attractive. Also, there is fast growth in our home market and we have to be careful not to destablise the organisation. First we have to make sure everything runs smooth here,” he said.
Dr Bitzer advised people to be extra careful when selecting a health insurance provider and said both individuals and employers must try to compare offers and services and understand them before buying a policy.
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