In only a few years, the government of Dubai has managed to reduce the rate of uninsured in the Emirate from nearly 70% down to less than 2%. The significant uptake in people holding health insurance is a direct result of the government’s recently introduced mandatory health insurance laws making it compulsory to hold a minimum level of medical coverage.

If you’re a new arrival to Dubai, or you’re due to relocate there soon, global insurance broker UAE Medical Insurance has some info you’ll need to consider about getting your own healthcare, and potentially coverage for your dependants.

The Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai (ISAHD)

ISAHD, also an Arabic word that means “bringing happiness”, is Dubai’s mandatory healthcare system that has two missions. The first is to provide everyone in the Emirate with insurance, the second is to monitor and enhance a sustainable and high quality healthcare system. Rolled out in phases, the Dubai Health Authority has set a final deadline of March 31 2017 for people to comply with the Mandatory Health Insurance Law No 11.

According to the laws, all individuals in Dubai (whether living as citizens or residents, or those simply visiting) must hold insurance that meets the following minimum coverage requirements:

  • A claims limit of DH150,000 per year
  • Medicine cost limit capped at DH1,500
  • Outpatient treatment covered with a 20% excess
  • Inpatient treatment covered with a 20% excess
  • Maternity benefits – up to Dh, 7,000 for normal delivery, and up to 10,000 for a C-section deemed medically necessary.
  • Coverage for pre-existing conditions. Those that have not previously had coverage for this in the UAE will be subject to a 6 month waiting period.

While Emiratis themselves can find coverage under a government scheme, the new laws also mandate that employers must provide health insurance for the expat community in Dubai. However, unlike the laws in Abu Dhabi, employers are not required to provide insurance for any of the employee’s dependents in Dubai if they do not choose to. Some may, however, but otherwise the employee is responsible for securing care for their family.

What happens if I don’t secure health insurance?

From March 31 2017, employers and sponsors (those employees who sponsor dependents to stay in Dubai) who fail to secure medical insurance plans that meet the DHA minimum requirements will be subject to a monthly fine of Dh 500 for every month without insurance. That would be per employee/dependent, meaning an employee with an uninsured spouse and two children could be fined Dh 1,500 each month until they’re insured.

More importantly, the health insurance laws also have the power to impact immigration and visas statuses for Dubai residents. When applying for a visa, either a new one or a renewal, those applicants who failed to provide evidence that they hold compliant health insurance will find their applications denied. Considering that the annual cost of some of the minimum coverage plans is Dh 550, it makes little sense not to buy cover.

What if I have other insurance needs?

Obviously, insurance should be bought based on securing an appropriate level of coverage for your needs and not simply to avoid government fines, so what happens if your employer provided coverage doesn’t quite cover your bases? “Top up” insurance can be a great solution for filling in any coverage gaps with a company-provided insurance plan.

Top up insurance allows you to add further coverage to an existing health insurance policy, for much less than the cost of a full individual plan alone. While the Dubai laws already allow for pre-existing conditions to be covered, you might find that certain appointments may not be – be it ongoing physiotherapy, or mental health support. If you find that your employer-provided plan is lacking something you need, consider a top up!

Finding the right insurance for you in Dubai

While there are many ways to look for health insurance in the Emirates, those of you unfamiliar with the region and its laws might want to consider engaging an insurance broker like UAE Medical Insurance. Along with extensive local knowledge, brokers also have existing relationships with many local and international insurers that can mean you’ll have greater options and better prices.


Author Bio: UAE Medical Insurance
The advisors of UAE Medical Insurance (UMI), have been providing solid insurance solutions to residents in Dubai for over a decade. Their experience is matched by their holistic approach to customer service; UMI’s commitment stays with you throughout your policy, not once you’ve paid for it.