Medical Insurance for Expats in Dubai



Prior 2008, Dubai had plans of requiring expats to secure private medical insurance. However, this plan was deferred considerably due to the financial crisis that hit the emirate in 2008. The crisis forced many expats to leave the UAE to avoid debt collections. As companies plunged into bankruptcy, many foreign workers could not settle bills including credit card payments and medical expenses. There are rumours that the postponed plan will be revived with a possibility of becoming a law due to the swelling number of expats in the emirate.

Kevin Melton, of AXA PPP International, said: "In Dubai, just before the recession hit, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) was in the process of reviewing healthcare regulation. As more overseas nationals came into the emirate, the strain became ever greater on the system.” Dubai officials have been planning of aligning healthcare policies with that of Abu Dhabi’s. Under Abu Dhabi’s rules, all expat women are required to secure coverage for their maternity needs even beyond their menopausal age. Abu Dhabi has one of the most stringent policies on mandatory private medical insurance.

It is not yet confirmed when Dubai will require private health plans among expats. Nevertheless, foreigners are still required to have at least travel insurance plans to avoid expulsion. "As for Dubai at present, technically insurance is not mandatory. The DHA has said it is to bring in regulatory requirements in the near future but – and it's a big but – they won't renew your work visa unless you have insurance or a government health card, which means you are contributing to the state health system,” AXA’s Mr Melton said.

Here are some types of medical insurance that an expat may purchase to comply with Dubai’s healthcare policies:

Advanced Public Healthcare

Advanced Public Healthcare was introduced by the Department of Health and Medical Services (DOHMS). It extends medical services to both locals and expats through Dubai’s public health facilities. People who are expected to have their insurance plans may be refused services at public facilities.

Private Healthcare Insurance

Since some employers do not provide health coverage to their employees, expats are advised to secure their plans. Some international medical insurance providers offer comprehensive coverage that includes emergency care and hospitalisation. Most of these providers have 24/7 multi-lingual helpdesks for their expat-customers everywhere.

Below is a list of the international medical insurance providers expats may wish to consider:

• Cigna Global
• Integra Global
• Bupa Global 
• William Russell