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What is The Cost of Medical Insurance for Parents in the UAE?

While news of soaring insurance prices might not be new, there’s been a steep rise in the cost of UAE health insurance for dependent parents recently. Our Cost of International Health Insurance Report for 2021 again shows Dubai ranking among the highest locations in the world, and according to a 2019 article in the Gulf News, even the essential benefits plan for someone aged above 65 would cost around AED 4,500 per year. A comprehensive plan would likely cost between AED 20,000 and AED 50,000, and that was before COVID-19.

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While mandatory DHA laws enforce a market where no one can be denied coverage, this Pacific Prime Dubai article discusses the implications of this on medical insurance prices in the region.

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Changes to UAE Health Insurance Plans Covering Dependent Parents

Going back in time a little more, 2018 saw an eye-popping increase in the minimum premium for health plans for seniors over 65. According to industry players, the premium hike for dependent parents in Dubai had ranged from 20% to 70% for new policies and renewals. This meant minimum premiums that were previously in the AED 2,500 range had now increased to as high as AED 4,000 and above.

Others had noted that the annual limits of the basic DHA policy (AED 150,000) had been offered as an individual dependent parents’ plan that imposed a six-month waiting period for anyone with a pre-existing condition. While the imposition counted for first scheme membership, policyholders would be covered in full once this first period was over – a somewhat flimsy reprieve for those aged 65 and older who are more likely to have one or more lingering health concerns.

What are Driving Insurance Prices for Older Persons in Dubai?

Our Cost of International Health Insurance Report highlighted the following key drivers behind rising insurance costs:

  • Increased demand for international private care
  • Rising costs of healthcare provision
  • Increased regulatory impacts, such as stricter local licensing and mandatory cover
  • Continued challenges with fraud

While all of these do have some bearing on the situation for the 65-and-older market in Dubai, the high claims ratio in the UAE is also being fingered for blame. As the ramifications of mandatory coverage become more clear, insurers are finding that the UAE health insurance coverage offered to those with dependents over 65 was resulting in poor claims ratios driven by the initial low premium price (particularly where the basic minimum plans were concerned).

How Does This Impact Policyholders in Dubai?

Those with dependent parents may find that the premium for coverage has risen significantly. Some prices may be comparable to more comprehensive plans, which is something industry experts suggest consumers should be aware of. According to the 2018 Gulf News article, many dependents’ policies were not as comprehensive in their coverage, nor were they specifically relevant to senior patients.

A related concern is that these basic types of policies are being purchased primarily to satisfy mandatory health policy laws, rather than provide proper healthcare coverage. While the minimum coverage requirements mandated by the DHA do offer good benefit terms for the general consumer market, those aged 65 and over have a range of specific concerns and higher demands than someone in their mid-20s might. Whilst they might still be the cheaper option for those covering dependent parents, the increased premiums might not make it the best-value solution.

Finally, any potential impact on the claims loss ratio to an insurer from any particular product puts pressure on the rest of the business and its pricing strategies. There’s no indication yet that insurers might look to offset losses covering seniors by hiking premiums on other consumer types. However, not finding a way to provide good coverage at an attractive rate may leave the Dubai insurance industry with few options.

Working out What You Should Be Paying for UAE Health Insurance

In order to know whether you’re paying too much or too little for the coverage you have, you need to know the market. As individual consumers, the most common tools you have are online comparison websites or independent insurance brokers that can produce tables for you to check out what’s on offer. Pacific Prime Dubai prides itself on having a user-friendly medical insurance comparison tool, as well as knowledgeable and expert staff that will put you at the center of any decision regarding your insurance coverage, whether you’re looking for medical insurance for parents within the UAE or in other countries.

As well as that, our marketing team prepares a range of insightful industry reports that are aimed at empowering you with the sort of insider knowledge that can help you make better decisions about your health insurance in the future. In particular, our Cost of International Health Insurance Report is available to you free of charge and provides a comparison of the average cost of international coverage for both individuals and families, in more than 100 locations around the world.

Download a copy here today or contact our staff to talk to someone directly.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Dubai
Martin is a writer and translator with over 10 years of experience. He writes articles and blog posts, creates infographics and videos, translates between Chinese and English, and more. Skilled at explaining complicated concepts in layman’s terms, Martin believes the gold standard of translation is attained when the translated text is not only accurate, but also reads like an original text. Martin holds a degree in Economics from the University of London, UK.

Since joining Pacific Prime, Martin has become even more aware of the gap between the true value of insurance products and most people’s appreciation of it, and developed a passion for demystifying and simplifying matters, so that more people get the protection they need at a cost they can easily afford.

In his free time, Martin attends concerts of various genres, and plays the violin with piano accompaniment he pre-recorded himself or played live by his niece.
Martin Lee