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Three Hospitals Rule Out Fee Hike

Dubai Three major have come forward with the announcement that they will not raise consultation fees or other charges for the coming year, saying it is the wrong time to impose additional financial burden on the public.

Insurers had earlier claimed that some major hospitals and clinics proposed to increase fees by up to 45 per cent in 2010.

An executive of a leading insurance company said that if the charges went up, premiums would shoot up too and many people would not be able to afford the health care costs.

Hospital executives on the other hand, said insurance companies are making money from huge discounts and alleged insurers are “playing games” with the health care providers. They also pointed out that there is no regulatory body and that each hospital decides whether to increase fees or not depending on its circumstances.

In the capital, Abu Dhabi-Health Authority (HAAD) regulates tariffs in collaboration with Daman, a major insurer. “The charges are decided based on the quality of the clinic or hospital,” said one marketing manager of a hospital in Dubai.

Naser Saleh, marketing and sales director of American Hospital, said no increase in charges is proposed for consultations, investigations or for various other packages at the hospital. He said expansion plans at the hospital would not affect the decision to keep charges at current levels. Certain tests would cost Dh10 extra but generally patients’ bills would not be impacted, he said.

Economic climate

Dubai London Clinic too said it is not planning any increase. Karen Mohring, general manager of the group, said it is not right to raise charges “in the present climate.”

According to the Emirates Insurance Association, the clinic has sought a 74 per cent increase in fees.

Mohring, however, said no increase in fees is being considered.

One of the largest health care providers, Medcare Hospital and Al Rafa Hospital, said it too has no plans to hike rates for 2010. “We are the most affordable hospital group,” said Jobilal M. Vavachan, assistant general manager.

But he said costs have gone up across the board, from salaries for health care professionals to the cost of running a commercial property. He observed that while residential property prices have gone down, commercial property rates are increasing.

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