How to plan for pregnancy in the UAE….

Expectation:

  • Get health insurance with maternity
  • Have the company pay for it if you have a job
  • Get pregnant
  • Give birth

Reality:

  • Get health insurance with maternity
  • Company pays for half of it
  • Get pregnant
  • Company shuts down and you lose job
  • Insurance expires before your due date
  • Get quotes for 40k AED and above
  • Cry
  • Have anxiety attacks for 3 months
  • Cry some more. Cry a lot.
  • Finally end up paying 5 times as much as your current policy
  • The end

So here’s what I didn’t know…

When my company shut down and I lost my job In March, my insurance was still valid until July. I naively thought I would just renew it for maybe 20% more and that’s it. After all, I’ve been with the insurance company for 3 years and had served the “waiting period” necessary for the maternity inclusion. Luckily, I had lunch with a friend who worked in insurance and she informed me that that’s not how it goes down. That’s when shit hit the fan.

So when you switch from a group insurance policy to an individual policy, they underwrite you again and treat you like a new customer. Your history with them will not matter anymore. That would have been ok if I had not been pregnant. But as I was already 4ish months in, I already had a “pre existing condition”. As such, my normal 6k AED policy would be 8 or more times as much.

Imagine my panic attack. I had not budgeted for this at all. And it was impossible for me to get another job as I was already halfway through the pregnancy. So I started requesting for quotes. I went to 3 brokers and 8 insurance companies and went through the whole nightmare of filling up multiple forms, painful follow ups with all of the companies, medical reports, etc. Believe it or not, I only started getting quotes after 2 months because, I don’t know. I really don’t know what they do everyday in the office for quote to take as long as they did. Anyway, the quotes I received were 30k, 40k, 43k and 51k AED. Some did not even cover the hospital I wanted to give birth in and most had a 10k-12k AED maternity limit. Which means that even if I delivered normally, I would still have to add to the expense. It was a no go. So I had resigned to the fact that I may go home to Cebu and be gone for about 4 months. And btw, up to this day, AXA still has not gotten back to me with a renewal quote and I have gotten tired of calling again and again to follow up. Horrible, horrible customer service. And to think I have been with them for 3 years.

Then a friend who worked in Daman referred her colleague to me so I decided to give it a try. They were not originally in my list as I knew they were expensive. I went through the whole process of requesting for a quote for 2 weeks not expecting anything back but 2 weeks before my insurance was about to expire, DAMAN came through. I got a quote for 28k AED without a limit for maternity. Still a lot of money but compared to 50k with a maternity limit, that was a waaaay better deal. Plus they have really good customer service and compared to other insurance companies, their turnaround time is really, really fast.

And that’s the story of how I ended up paying for health insurance that’s 5 times as much as I was supposed to pay. Moral lesson of the story? Don’t get pregnant kids! Or at least don’t get pregnant in the UAE 🙂 But seriously though, as my husband said, that amount is nothing compared to the baby. She’s priceless and worth every dirham.