There are many international companies specialising in private health insurance in Oman and elsewhere. Comprehensive health insurance can be purchased for as little as $50 ($35) per month for regional coverage. However, price shouldn’t be your only consideration when you are comparing policies. You should also carefully consider the benefits of different policies.
Make sure you research your policy carefully before you buy, particularly with regards to what treatments are and are not covered.
All policies include limitations and restrictions. For example: ‘pre-existing’ medical conditions are unlikely to be covered, certain occupations are often excluded or attract surcharges, and high-risk sports are rarely covered (although the definition of ‘high risk’ does vary from one insurer to another). Many companies also limit costs for a particular treatment within a calendar year, in addition to having an overall annual limit for total treatment coverage.
Avoid policies that restrict the number of days that you’re allowed to spend in hospital.
You may find an upper age limit on some insurance schemes. If you’re offered a private health policy that terminates at retirement, it would be wise to avoid it. Obtaining a new policy at the age limit (for a reasonable price) will be difficult, if not impossible.
Note that some companies terminate insurance policies at the end of the stipulated period if they believe that the costs they’ve incurred have become too high. If you’re purchasing an international policy, also note that some policies exclude coverage in the USA due to the high cost of American health care. You can often pay to have different areas or types of coverage added, but it may be expensive to do so.
Bear in mind that insurance companies can be very particular about their claim forms and always insist that they be completed by the relevant doctor or dentist. Though many medical professionals find this process tedious, you must insist that it’s done in order to receive your reimbursement.
Full dental insurance can be very expensive. If you want extensive coverage, you must purchase a ‘gold standard’ health plan. Emergency fillings and extractions are normally included in standard health plans, but when it comes to more specialised treatment involving crowns, bridges and other prosthetics, the costs increase substantially.
Even ‘gold standard’ policies have exclusions, sometimes with regard to the content of fillings, the number of dentist visits allowed annually and the volume of work carried out in any year. Policyholders should also make sure that their coverage includes x-rays and teeth cleaning.
Cosmetic procedures and children’s orthodontics aren’t included in most plans (if they are, the premiums are usually high).
This article is an extract from Living and Working in Gulf States & Saudi Arabia. Click here to get a copy now.