For anyone moving to a new country, it is essential to know what the healthcare arrangements are before you arrive. In the case of the UAE, the situation is complicated by regulations that differ between emirates.
Do you need private health insurance in the UAE?
The short answer to this question is yes. Emirati nationals do not need to purchase private health insurance, but anyone moving to the UAE from abroad will need private health insurance. Under Emirati law, employers are required to provide basic health insurance to their workers. However, this cover will not extend to your family members and dependents.
What about Dubai?
All residents of Dubai are required to have some kind of private medical cover. If you are moving with your family, you will need to purchase insurance for them, unless your employer offers more generous insurance than they are legally required to.
What kind of healthcare system does Dubai have?
Healthcare in the UAE is a hybrid public-private system. The ratio of one to the other varies between the emirates. In the case of Dubai, the split is roughly 20% public and 80% private. Public healthcare is primarily for Emirati nationals, whose treatment is either free or low-cost. Public healthcare in Dubai does not extend to dental, eye, or ear care.
Expats can make use of Dubai’s public healthcare, but it is usually in their interests to use private care instead; especially as they are obliged to take out private health insurance. Private medical facilities in Dubai are also generally of a much higher standard than public facilities.
Is health insurance mandatory in Dubai?
Yes, major medical insurance is mandatory for all residents of Dubai, irrespective of whether they are currently employed or not. Any expat hoping to earn their residency visa will need to have private medical cover to qualify. There are also hefty fines levied against any resident without private medical coverage for every month they are uninsured. The monthly insurance premiums are considerably cheaper than these fines, so it is in every residents’ interests to acquire medical insurance.
If you are planning on moving to Dubai, you should be prepared to take out private medical insurance. While your employer must provide you with basic cover, this won’t extend to your dependents and will only cover the most basic treatments. Compare the best rates on insurance today.