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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 05/08/2010

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Health insurance companies will cover the cost of organ transplant under the enhanced plan, but not organ acquisition, Khaleej Times has learnt.

All of Damans enhanced plans cover organ transplants. However, the Abu Dhabi basic plan has transplants as exclusion, according to the law, said Dr Michael Bitzer, chief executive officer of the National Health Insurance Company, Daman.

Dr Finn Goldner, Director of Health System Financing at the Health Authority " Abu Dhabi (HAAD), has confirmed that organ transplant is not covered in the Basic Insurance Product. But for Emiratis, the Thiqa programme covers the transplant, but does not pay for organ acquisition, he said.

Similarly, Daman requires the availability of a required donating organ that matches the recipient, said Dr Bitzer.

Under its international coverage, Daman covered a liver transplant conducted in Germany and a bone marrow transplant in the UK in the past three years.

Prices for transplant are negotiated between Daman and the healthcare provider, Dr Goldner stated. And for other non-government enhanced insurance products, they may or may not cover it depending on the policy, he added.

Dr Abraham Hanounik, director, Member Services of Green Crescent Insurance Company, affirmed that the private companys coverage under the enhanced plan does not include organ acquisition cost.

The organs are duly priced; sometimes the patient buys the organ (and) we dont cover that, but Green Crescent covers the operation for the organ donor as well as that of the recipient, said Dr Hanounik. Since its establishment in 2008, Green Crescent has yet to grant coverage for the procedure. It currently has approximately 75,000 members in the UAE.

In May, the Ministry of Health (MoH) approved the guidelines on the organ transplant law that allows multi-organ donation, including kidney, liver, lung, pancreas and heart after death.

Dr Mohammed Al Zaabi, liver transplant consultant and a member of the National Organ Transplant Committee, said that currently all organ transplant procedures at the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) " the only authorised organ transplant centre in the UAE " are paid for by the government, even for non-nationals.

In future, transplants will be discussed and decision on payment will be made, he told Khaleej Times.

By Olivia Olarte


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