Is health insurance mandatory for visitors and residents in Dubai?
Yes, since 2017, health insurance is mandatory for all Dubai residents, be it local Emiratis or expatriates, but also their dependents, private employees, companies of all sizes, and even tourists. Obtaining a Resident Visa by way of Employment or Investment to remain in the territory of the Dubai Emirate without compliant health insurance is impossible.
Fully compliant Dubai private health insurance
The health system in Dubai is governed by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which is tasked with regulating and transforming Dubai into a leading healthcare destination. The DHA launched Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai (ISAHD), an insurance reform that has made it mandatory for all residents in Dubai to have health insurance.
Pacific Prime Dubai is fully licensed and regulated by the UAE Insurance Authority - DHA License: Pacific Prime Insurance Brokers LLC. [license number 266]. This allows us to provide fully compliant international health insurance plans (both local and international in nature) along with quality insurance advice in Dubai.
What do international health insurance plans in Dubai cover?
Pacific Prime Dubai offers expert advice on a range of international health insurance plans for expats in Dubai and the UAE. For expats based in the Northern Emirates outside of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, all of our international health insurance plans exceed the minimum requirements set by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), which requires Inpatient and Outpatient cover for a minimum of 150,000 AED, and can be further tailored to include:
All medical plans in Dubai provide both inpatient and outpatient coverage, so you don’t need to worry about being provided with an inpatient-only plan. All the other benefits can be added depending on your needs, with the careful guidance of Pacific Prime’s insurance advisors.
Additionally, all international health insurance plans in Dubai sold by Pacific Prime are guaranteed renewable. This means that once you have taken out your individual health plan, you can renew your policy for the remainder of your time as a resident in the UAE. Of course, premiums will rise each time you renew your plan, but they will often only increase with the average rate only.
All individual health insurance plans available through Pacific Prime Dubai include robust direct billing networks. This essentially means that you won't have to pay upfront for medical treatment at the facilities under your direct billing network. Instead, your insurer will handle the payment directly with the hospital.
All international health insurance plans in Dubai offer the option of a deductible. A deductible is an agreed amount that you will pay for treatment before your insurance takes over. This allows clients to keep premiums lower.
Dubai visa application and Dubai mandatory health coverage
All residents (including foreigners) must have compliant individual health insurance in Dubai or they will not be issued a visa, or see their visa renewal application denied (if they are already in the Emirate).
In most cases, these plans are supposed to be provided by your company, but companies are not legally required to provide coverage for dependents or your employees (e.g., maids, gardeners, drivers, etc.). Should your company not offer coverage for your dependents, you are required to secure medical coverage for them yourself. The plan, however, has to be compliant with the DHA’s regulations. This means you will need to purchase the minimum required coverage as stipulated by the DHA.
Mandatory insurance in Dubai: The Essential Benefits Plan (EBP)
The DHA specified that persons earning below 4,000 AED per month can obtain the minimum level of coverage, also called the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP), in order for the visa application to be accepted. In other words, all EBP plans must at the very least feature the following:
- An annual claims limit of AED 150,000 (per person) on all claims
- Pre-existing and chronic conditions cover (this is subject to a 6 month waiting period)
- Inpatient treatment cover (with a 20% excess and up to a maximum of AED 500 per visit)
- Outpatient cover (with a 20 % excess)
- Maternity (All services covered with a 10% excess. Normal deliveries are covered up to a maximum of AED 7,000 for normal delivery, and medically necessary C-sections are covered up to AED 10,000)
- Medications (up to a maximum of AED 1,500)
- Essential vaccinations and inoculations for children and newborns
- Preventative care as stipulated by the DHA to initially include diabetes screening
However, since the EBP coverage limits are often not sufficient to cover any major medical emergency or illness, the DHA has also introduced a couple of Patient Support Programs in Dubai, which have been designed to help uninsured persons get access to the care they need in specific areas as described in the said Patient Support Programs.
Mandatory Tuberculosis screening for UAE visas
It’s also important to note that in order to obtain and renew a residency visa in Dubai, applicants must undergo certain health screenings, including the mandatory tuberculosis screening.
Further down the line, depending on the type of visa you are applying for, other mandatory health screenings may include a test for HIV, Hepatitis, and Syphilis.
Dubai health insurance costs
The Dubai healthcare system is among the best in the world, and the prices are not cheap. As can be expected, health insurance premiums in Dubai are also among the most expensive in the world - as indicated in our annual Cost of Health Insurance Report, a thirty year old male can expect to pay an average of USD $4,377 for a comprehensive, international health insurance plan in 2018, and USD $4,666 in 2019. This places Dubai as the 6th most expensive country to buy international health insurance in 2019.
Why are Dubai’s health insurance premiums so high?
There are a few reasons as to why Dubai's health insurance premiums are among the highest in the world:
Cost of healthcare in the Emirate
One of the reasons is the cost of healthcare in the Emirate. For example, a General Practitioner visit at a private facility can set you back anywhere from AED 370 (approx. USD100) to AED 500 (approx. USD136), and this price excludes medications or any additional tests (eg, blood).
Health insurance in Dubai is mandatory
Another reason why health insurance premiums cost so much in Dubai is the fact that health insurance in Dubai is mandatory, and in addition to that, it must cover all pre-existing conditions, which has a huge impact on the premium.
High level of the insured population
A high level of insured population drives up the government’s healthcare spending, as well as the demand for public healthcare. This, in turn, is driving the demand for treatment at private facilities, especially among expatriates looking for quality healthcare in Dubai.
Private and public healthcare in Dubai
To learn more about the healthcare system in Dubai, and in particular the main features and differences between public and private healthcare, read our FREE guide on Public and Private Healthcare in Dubai.
By downloading this guide you will learn:
- The key differences between public and private healthcare in Dubai
- What are the main features and differences between public and private hospitals in Dubai?
- Where are Dubai's private hospitals located?
- What is a health care free zone?
- What are Dubai's minimum mandatory health insurance requirements?
- Medical tips for expats moving to Dubai
How to secure international health insurance in Dubai
Every medical insurance plan in Dubai has to be purchased through local health insurers, or international insurers that have formed partnerships with local insurers. The plans must also comply with local regulations. There is a relatively small number of insurers legally allowed to sell health insurance in Dubai.
Pacific Prime Dubai has well-established relationships with the top health insurance companies in the region. This means we can offer the widest range of quality Dubai individual health insurance plan options in the market. All of our services are provided free of charge, meaning our plans are the same cost vs going to the insurer directly. You benefit from our unrivaled service that is not found elsewhere.
International health insurance in Dubai
Most of the international insurers who offer compliant individual health insurance plans in Dubai sell their policies as global ones. This is due to the high cost of medical care in the region, so including rest of the world (excluding the USA) cover in the individual policy won't significantly increase the client's premiums.