FAQ: New insurance regulations for Dubai
Welcome to the 'Frequently Asked Questions about the Dubai healthcare reform' section of our site! On this page, you will find commonly asked questions that we have heard from our clients. If you have a question, please see if you can locate it below, as the answer to it may be on the page.
For any further questions surrounding the DHA's insurance regulations, contact our expert advisors today! Otherwise, you can click below to begin using our online quote tool, where you can compare family and company insurance packages.
How many people in Dubai are covered by the DHA insurance scheme?
The entire population of Dubai is under the purview of the DHA's mandatory health insurance law. This includes foreigners who also live and work in the city, along with people who are visiting the Emirate.
Do visitors to Dubai need health insurance?
In Dubai, it is mandatory for all visitors to the Emirate to secure travel insurance before a visa will be issued. Luckily, insurance can be purchased from various locations in Dubai including the airport.
As with the DHA's requirements for those living in Dubai, there are minimum requirements that all travel plans must meet before a visa will be issued. These include:
- Coverage of emergency medicine - Accident or sickness, up to a limit of AED 150,000
- Coverage of accidental death - up to AED 5,000
- Repatriation of Mortal Remains - up to AED 7,500
The cost of these plans will vary depending on the length of your stay but will generally cost:
- AED 40 for a 30-day stay
- AED 90 for a 90-day stay
- AED 185 for a 180-day stay
Are there other health insurance options?
No, the health insurance plans that meet the DHAs mandatory coverage requirements are the only plans allowed to be sold in Dubai. Further to that, all DHA facilities - clinics and hospitals - are part of the insurance network.
That said, you are free to purchase additional coverage on top of your DHA compliant plan. Talk to our advisors to learn more.
What is the minimum amount of cover I can have?
The Dubai Health Authority has set a minimum level of cover that all health insurance plans must offer in order for the plan to be considered 'compliant'. All plans must, at the very least cover:
- At least AED 150,000 in coverage for all benefits combined
- Pre-existing conditions (with a maximum 6 month waiting period allowed)
- Inpatient care (with a 10% copay allowed, up to a maximum of AED 1,000 per year, or AED 500 per visit)
- Outpatient care with a maximum of 20% allowed
- Up to AED 1,500 worth of medication and pharmaceuticals
- Maternity treatments and birth (with a 10% copay allowed). This includes up to seven outpatient visits, up to AED 7,000 for normal birth, and AED 10,000 for a medically necessary C-section
- Care received at any registered hospital or clinic in Dubai and emergency treatment in the other Emirates
Plans that meet only the basic coverage requirements are referred to as 'Essential Benefits Plans'.
What is the price of health insurance plans in Dubai?
The cost of medical insurance in Dubai is varied. Plans that meet the absolute minimum coverage requirements (referred to as the Essential Benefits Package) start at AED 550 (as of 2017) and go up in cost from there.
For more information on the current cost of plans, the ISAHD has the most up-to-date rates for the basic coverage plans.
Plans with more extensive benefits, like international health insurance plans, can be more expensive. According to our 2017 Cost Of International Health Insurance Report the average cost of international health insurance plans in Dubai was:
- USD 4,772 for individuals
- USD 11,836 for families
- USD 8,959 for all plans
To learn more about the cost of insurance, download your copy of the report from here.
What is covered by DHA compliant health insurance plans?
Basic coverage plans available in Dubai cover the following:
- GP visits
- Referral to specialists
- Specialist treatments*
- Surgical procedures*
- Tests and investigations*
- Maternity and emergencies
*Note: Some treatments and procedures require you to first receive a referral from a General Practitioner and pre-authorization from your insurer. Pacific Prime's advisors can help find a doctor and with the pre-authorization process.
What is not covered by DHA compliant health insurance plans?
Basic health insurance plans sold in Dubai are not required to cover any luxury medical expenses. These include:
- Cosmetic surgery or treatments
- Non-emergency dental care
- Private rooms
- International treatment (treatment outside of the UAE)
That said, there are plans available that are compliant with the DHA's coverage requirements and can cover some of the above (non medically-necessary cosmetic surgery is not covered by any insurer). Pacific Prime Dubai can help you find these plans. The best place to start your search is by comparing your health insurance options by using our online quote tool, which can be found here.
Are specific illnesses like cancer covered?
Yes, treatment for cancer and other specific illnesses are covered by health insurance plans in Dubai. The important thing to be aware of here, however, is that many of these treatments can be incredibly costly. With a plan that only has the most basic level of mandatory cover, it is not unheard of to burn through the covered amount in one or two treatments.
For example, in an article published by our partner UAE Medical Insurance in 2016, it was reported that breast cancer patients "need at least AED 1 million per annum for cancer treatment of any kind, and breast cancer can take up to 5 years to treat." With a basic plan where the covered limit is AED 150,000 this means that you could be left paying over AED 800,000 out of your own pocket for treatment.
If a person is non-responsive will health insurance in Dubai cover care?
Yes, this type of care falls under emergency medical treatment and will be covered by DHA compliant health insurance plans.
For visitors to Dubai, this will be covered by their travel insurance and international health insurance (if they have it). The hospital will treat the patient until they are well enough to be medically evacuated to their home country.
Who will pay for emergency medical treatment?
All compliant health insurance plans are required to cover emergency treatment in the UAE, with treatment in Dubai being fully covered.
In almost all medical emergencies, the insurer will not usually require pre-authorization for treatment with treatment being given as necessary. If treatment is carried out at a hospital outside of the insurer's network then the patient will be moved to an in-network hospital once they are stable.
It is important to note here that DHA compliant plans do cover the cost of an ambulance but you are required to show the ambulance crew your insurance card before they can take you to the hospital. It would therefore be a good idea to ensure that you have your card on you at all times.
Is there a maximum level of coverage for DHA compliant plans?
No, there is no strict limit set in place regarding the maximum dollar amount of coverage that DHA compliant plans must offer.
That said, there is also no law stating the companies must offer coverage beyond the minimum levels. If an organization chooses to give anything higher than the minimum level of plan, it is their prerogative.
Are companies required to cover an employee's dependents?
No, the law states that companies in Dubai are only required to provide compliant health insurance for their employees. Dependents like children and spouses are not required to be covered, but they are required to have their own health insurance coverage which is secured by the person who is sponsoring them (usually the employed individual).
That said, companies can offer cover for their employee's dependents, but it is completly up to the company whether they will or not. If they do offer coverage, plans must meet the basic coverage requirements.
Is this health insurance coverage linked to visa renewal/applications?
Yes, it is linked. If you do not secure compliant insurance, your visa will not be issued or renewed.
What are the repercussions for not securing compliant insurance?
By law, the employer or sponsor is required to secure compliant health insurance for their employees or dependents. If you fail to do so, you will be fined up to AED 500 per individual, per month where no coverage was secured. As mentioned above, visa renewal or applications will also be denied.
It should also be mentioned here that employers can not push the cost of this insurance onto their employees in any way. The DHA has implemented strict punitive laws in the case a complaint is filed by an employee.