Don’t let redundancy hit your health cover

Don’t let redundancy hit your health cover
20 January 2011

FINDING a job takes top priority in Sonya Gosha’s life at the moment. She received notice of redundancy from her job as a project manager for a Dubai-based architectural consultancy in December. Not wanting to pack up and move, her days and nights have been spent trying to land a new job in the Gulf region.

“I was shocked by the decision to let me go as I’d only signed a contract with the company five weeks prior to being given my notice,” says Sonya, 43, of Indian origin, but with dual British and Canadian nationality. “I can only assume that that the strategy was ‘last in first out’.”

However, Sonya hasn’t just lost a means of earning. In the UAE and GCC in general, health insurance is inherently linked to employment – so losing your job often means losing your health insurance.

Recently, a member of the Federal National Council of the UAE demanded that Emirati and foreign patients who are brought to a hospital’s emergency department be offered care immediately, regardless of whether or not they have health insurance, but that doesn’t always happen.

Sonya, like many other single women living in the Arab world, does not have the luxury of relying on her spouse or family to cover her bills and additional expenses, such as private health insurance, often fall by the way side when money becomes tight.

Learning from experience

Sonja recognises the importance of maintaining cover. “My employer has always been happy to make a contribution towards my existing Bupa health insurance policy that I’ve had since 1999,” says Sonya. “After being made redundant, I’ve kept the policy, but I now have to fork out for the entire annual fee without any financial assistance.”

She knows firsthand the hardship that can befall someone living in this part of world without medical insurance.

“Living without private health insurance in a country where health care costs a fortune can bleed you dry,” she says. “I was involved in an accident ten years ago and my medical fees were financially crippling. It took me until recently to pay them off. I’ve refused to go without insurance ever since.”

Considering all options

Sonya has a comprehensive insurance plan – and the annual fees reflect this. It costs $4,800 a year. The cost is debited from her credit card every three months, with her next payment of $1,200 being due in April.

“I am optimistic that my career will be back on track by April, but should I still find myself out of work, rather than cancelling my policy all together, I’ll speak with my insurance agent to see if I can alter the terms to reduce the annual fee instead,” she says.

Pic credit: zirconicusso/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you been made redundant and lost your medical insurance? Have you, like Sonja, experienced the perils of not being covered? Share your stories with the cashy community.

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