Student Insurance to Now Cover Dental and Optical Benefits at NU-Q

Nekbakht Alibekova, Staff Reporter

Graphic/ Samip Khulal

Dental, orthodontal, optical, maternal, and chiropractic services are now in the list of insurance benefits with Sanad Insurance Brokers, according to a student health insurance information session held on Sept 30.

The event was moderated by Patricia Collins, the counselor and coordinator of Health and Wellness at NU-Q, and featured Karim Badra, the general manager of Sanad Insurance Brokers.

In previous years, dental and optical treatments were only covered if it was an emergency. This year, among the 500,000 Qatari Riyals health insurance limit per person in a year, students have 1,000 QAR as an optical benefit, 3,000 QAR for dental benefits, and 20,000 QAR for maternity benefits.

Last year, dental and optical treatments were purely medical-related coverages, which meant that students could not get dental benefits unless it was related to another medical emergency.

Vision tests and treatments like myopia were also not covered under last year’s insurance. Badra clarified that this year, glass lenses are insured, but frames are not.

The dental coverage includes different types of dental treatment including extractions, root canal treatment, and gum treatment.

“However, you should keep in mind that for dental [and optical] there is a 20 percent coinsurance,” pointed out Badra.

Co-insurance and deductibles are the amount of money students have to pay out of their own pockets. “Co-insurance is usually paid in every treatment,” Badra added.

“I mentioned that for dental you pay 20 percent of the insurance. That means let’s say you go see a dentist and the bill is 1,000 QAR, the insurance company will pay 800 QAR and you will pay 200 QAR,” he clarified.

For maternal benefits, the insurance provides 20,000 QAR per person for all maternal needs, including pre-childbirth, childbirth, and post-child-birth needs.

Badra also pointed out that, “Prescribed complementary treatment, ayurvedic, chiropractic, osteopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, and podiatry is 18 sessions per year.”

Another important benefit that was not available last year is that students no longer need to provide a co-pay for standard medical treatments at Al Ahli Hospital. “There’s nothing you pay for the doctor’s consultation. It is all covered by the insurance except for the new coverages, which are dental and optical,” Badra said.

Although Seib Insurance coverage is available worldwide for NU-Q students, direct billing is not available everywhere, added Badra.

In Qatar, Sidra Medical and Research Center and Qatar Foundation Primary Health Care Corporation are the two main providers that do not offer direct billing.

Students are also able to request reimbursement within 90 days if they were to use their medical insurance abroad. Reimbursement documents are advised to be in English, Arabic, or French to make it easier for the insurance companies.

The insurance reimbursement may differ in amount, as it follows Qatari medical rates instead of overseas rates. “I want to be as clear as possible, they will be paying you what they pay in Qatar,” said Badra.

If the amount paid abroad is more than the rate in Qatar, then the reimbursement will only match the local rates in Qatar. If the overseas rates are lower, then students will get reimbursed for the full amount they paid.

“With insurance, I think the most important thing is to also know who you’re dealing with and I know that sometimes even that can be confusing,” said Badra.  “I know last year you were with Doha Bank [Doha Bank Assurance Company LLC]. This year you are with Seib. They are the people who have a contract with Northwestern, they are people who have this coverage table that we adhere to and they are the people who pay out your claims.”

Globe Med is the company that Seib uses to manage claims. Sanad Insurance Brokers is NU-Q’s Insurance Customer Service Department. “So, any and all concerns you have regarding insurance, any concerns you have regarding any problems you’re having with the insurance company, we’re here to assist you and make this process easier for you this year,” said Badra.

Collins encouraged the NU-Q student body to reach out to her in case students have questions or concerns about navigating this health insurance process.

“Health insurance is never easy… but we want you to take advantage of this resource that’s provided to you and we’re here to help so just let us know when we can,” she said.

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