Mediclinic upbeat despite changes in UAE healthcare insurance environment

South Africa’s hospital group Mediclinic is confident of its prospects in the UAE despite regulatory changes to healthcare insurance that make it more expensive for some patients to seek treatment.

Mediclinic’s facilities in the UAE are expected to generate single-digit revenue growth during the full 2016-2017 financial year, the London-listed company said on Tuesday.

In June, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi said that it has reduced the insurance coverage for Emiratis under the Thiqa plan, and expatriates and their families under Daman Insurance’s Abu Dhabi Basic Plan.

Mediclinic acquired Abu Dhabi’s healthcare provider Al Noor Hospitals Group in February. In Dubai, the north wing of Mediclinic City Hospital opened this month with 80 beds, and the “initial patient numbers are encouraging”, said Danie Meintjes, the chief executive of Mediclinic International, in a filing to the London Stock Exchange.

“In Abu Dhabi, we are making good progress with the integration of Al Noor business and remain confident in the prospects for the region,” he said. “Despite the industry trends of growing competition and regulatory initiatives, Mediclinic is well positioned to maintain consistent growth.”

Mediclinic’s Middle East division reported revenues of Dh1.31 billion during the first five months of the financial year ended August 31. It operates two hospitals in Dubai and 10 clinics across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

The underlying EBITDA margins for the first half of 2016-2017 financial year are expected to be around 11 per cent.

“[This is] largely due to business and operational alignment, the introduction of a 20 per cent co-payment for Thiqa members using private healthcare facilities from July 1, and the delayed ramp-up of new units, including Al Jowhara Hospital in Abu Dhabi,” the company said in the statement.

It is building a 40-bed Al Jowhara Hospital in Al Ain besides the 188-bed Mediclinic Parkview Hospital on Umm Suqeim Road in Dubai, and a 100-bed Al Noor Hospital on Airport Road in Abu Dhabi.

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