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Medical insurance for residency in Dubai and the UAE in 2024

Written by Huma

Expatriate Health Insurance has become a mandatory requirement in some regions of Emirate including Dubai too.

If you’re planning to move to Dubai then it’s critical that you fully understand how the healthcare system works. We have developed a guide for you in order to get the complete information regarding expatriate heal.

Dubai is one of the most popular ex-pat destinations in the world. It is estimated that, at present, the population of Dubai stands at 9.2 million people, with 7.8 million of those being foreign-born workers. That means that almost 90% of the population in Dubai are expats.

Unsurprisingly, as ex-pat numbers have begun to swell, so the cost implications of medical care have also begun to spiral. This is especially in a country known for its extreme summer heat, which may be felt in the form of heat stroke, dehydration, and sunburn.

Over the years expatriate health insurance in Dubai has therefore changed considerably. 

These days it is critical that ex-pats and travelers alike fully understand health insurance in Dubai if they are to receive the care they need. This is especially so when you consider the cost of care in the UAE.

1. Dubai Healthcare at a Glance

These days Dubai offers internationally-renowned hospitals that provide state-of-the-art facilities, but at a cost.

Many of the better-known hospitals are impressive buildings in their own right, more-closely resembling spotlessly-clean hotels than medical establishments.

  1. Of course, all this luxury comes at a cost; and it is for this reason that expatriate medical insurance should be considered by visitors; anyone expecting to pay out of pocket or “risk it” and assume all will be fine with their health could be in for a nasty surprise.
  2. In general life expectancies in Dubai are comparable with the United Kingdom and other Western nations, which reflects the high standards of care to be expected here.

Thus, the only caveat to be aware of is that some more specialist treatment may require care in another country.

While hospitals in Dubai provide either free or significantly subsidized care to locals, ex-pats are unlikely to benefit from these services. Instead, you will need to rely on one of two types of health insurance in Dubai.

2. Public Health Insurance in Dubai

Due to the growing costs of providing health services for ex-pats, the local government is slowly introducing mandatory health insurance for all employees. At the time of writing, this has yet to cover all expat workers, however, this is promised in the coming months.

  1. The insurance provided grants discounted healthcare at public facilities, though be aware that the levels of care covered by many employer-provided policies are meager at best.
  2. Many will omit services that many consider essential – such as dental care or cover for family members.
  3. If you are lucky enough to be offered such a policy, therefore, be certain to check the fine print so that you understand fully what is and is not covered by your policy.
  4. Also, you may need to keep a healthy balance in your bank account in order to cover dental work if and when required; remember that the UAE is a “no debt” country so relying on credit cards is generally not the best option.

Therefore, it is essential to keep your health insurance card with you at all times to prove coverage, lest treatment should be needed at short notice.

3. Private Health Insurance in Dubai

As an alternative to public health care, many ex-pats opt for private medical insurance.

Such expatriate health insurance policies normally offer greater levels of cover and a range of services not covered by the state-run system.

That said, be aware that individuals with private health insurance in Dubai will often be turned away from public facilities.

As a result, should you opt for such a policy it makes sense to take note of your local private hospital so you know who to contact in the case of an emergency?

  1. Short-term visitors to Dubai should not rely on paying out-of-pocket for medical care, which can be very expensive.
  2. Instead, travelers should also investigate options for private health insurance in order to ensure affordable and timely standards of care.

Increasingly some form of health insurance – whether that’s through an employer or purchased privately – is a pre-requisite before you are granted a visa to enter the country.

4. Prescriptions in Dubai

Visitors and ex-pats alike should be aware that prescriptions in Dubai may be rather different from what you are used to.

  1. Firstly, some of the drugs you may be familiar with may be difficult to encounter in Dubai, while some may be banned altogether.
  2. For instant, as in many other Gulf States, sleeping pills and anti-depressants are generally banned in all but the most extreme cases and a letter from your own doctor may be required before you are prescribed any.
  3. On the other hand, there are plenty of pharmacies in Dubai and many of them are open 24 hours a day, so if you have a prescription you should have no problems accessing your medication.
  4. Like other parts of the UAE healthcare system, however, prescription medications can be expensive in Dubai so plan ahead.
  5. Visitors are allowed to bring up to three months’ worth of prescription drugs with them, while residents can be up to a year’s supply with them.

Thus, it should be noted that the original prescription and/or a letter from your doctor may be required to prove their authenticity and that they are purely intended for personal consumption.

5. Health Insurance Companies in UAE

We have listed down the insurance companies that provide the best expatriate health insurance policies in Dubai

Video Credit: Gulf News

As the world is evolving every day, our lifestyle is seeing a rapid change every day.

As we need to go hand in hand with the changes in our lifestyle, we also need to be aware of all the uncertainties that arise out of those changes that we come across in our life.

Hence, to stay protected we need to decide the right medical insurance that will suffice all our medical needs and expenses.

We have come up with a list of top medical insurance providers in UAE, that will help you decide which insurance provider is the best for you and your family.

  1. AXA Gulf Insurance

AXA insurance provides you with the best medical care and protects your family against any injury or illness whether you are traveling abroad or staying in your home country. AXA Insurance has tie-ups with the best hospitals abroad and doesn’t leave any page unturned when it comes to the protection of your health. Following are the benefits that you can avail with AXA expatriate health insurance:

  1. Get an instant cover on your health insurance
  2. You can claim your insurance at any time of the day or week.
  3. You can also get fair and fast claims with AXA
  4. AXA has an extensive network around the world.
  5. This insurance also comes with many ranges of covers.
  6. Get worldwide medical emergency assistance.
  7. You can avail of personal accident cover with this insurance.
  8. You can also avail of dental cover with this insurance.

2. Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC)

The insurance policy by ADNIC is known as SHIFA medical insurance. This insurance provides the facility of direct billing, which gives reassurance to your family. SHIFA also a special plan for its Dubai residents. If the Dubai residents avail of their special benefits plans online, they can also avail a special discount. SHIFA plan gives you the following benefits:

  1. You can get your annual limit covered for any chronic or pre-existing medical condition.
  2. You can medical expenses for any illness during work or any injuries that you incur during your work.
  3. You can avail direct billing facility in over 197 countries.
  4. You can avail of maternity claims up to your annual limit.
  5. You get an annual limit of AED 5 million.
  6. You can also avail of optical covers with this card.
  7. There is an option of optical dental cover with this card.
  8. You also get reimbursement of your claims outside the ADNIC network.

3. Emirates Insurance Company

This is one of the authorized insurance companies in Abu Dhabi for medical insurance. This insurance company follows the norms of the Health Insurance law in Abu Dhabi and is also licensed to participate in the health program in Dubai. This program comes with two plans that are basic and enhanced. The medical insurance policy is divided into the following plans:

  1. The basic plan, which is aimed to provide help to blue-collar workers.
  2. Standard plan, which is basically for families
  3. Enhanced plan, which is according to your need and requirement.
  4. VIP plan, which also includes an international cover.

4. Ras Al Khaimah National Insurance Company

This insurance provider provides insurance plans according to the user’s requirements. RAK insurance uses third party assistance that allows individuals as well as organizations to have access for 24 hours throughout the week, and receive the best feedback for their queries. With RAK insurance you can avail of a direct billing option through a wide range of RAK’s network. With direct billing, it becomes convenient for the customers during an emergency situation or during any reimbursement of any of your medical bills, depending upon your geographical area.

This insurance can be availed by any person who has a salary of up to AED 20000 per month.

5. Dubai Islamic Insurance & Reinsurance Co.

This insurance is also known as AMAN insurance. This company was established in the year 2024 and is also a national shareholders company. The coverage of this insurance includes:

  1. Medical centers and clinics
  2. Admission to best hospitals.
  3. Fast claim settlements.
  4. Clearly set out principles

6. Oman Insurance Company

Oman insurance company is one of the top insurance companies. When it comes to providing health, Oman Insurance Company follows all the norms of the Dubai Health Authority. This insurance also includes domestic help, drivers, dependents of sponsors. This insurance also provides health insurance for companies with less than 100 individuals. Following are the benefits of this insurance:

  1. This insurance is very easy to apply.
  2. AED 525 is charged for domestic staff
  3. You can also avail of direct billing for outpatients and inpatients.
  4. This insurance also covers all chronic and pre-existing diseases.
  5. This insurance covers all states in Emirates, except for Abu Dhabi where only emergency cases can be covered.

7. Daman Health Insurance

Having tie-ups with various health care centers globally, Daman Health insurance offers a wide range of benefits to the insurance holders. They provide expatriate health insurance services to individuals, families, and also to low-income members. They have a good network with 2000 health providers in the UAE region. This is one of the cheapest health insurance in Dubai. 

  1. Plan starts from AED 2108
  2. Provides services worldwide
  3. Can get treatment from 3000+healthcare providers
  4. Provides out-patient benefits
  5. All the plans cover pre-existing medical conditions
  6. Can cover pharmaceutical bills
  7. Can avail optical, dental benefits

8. MetLife Individual Medical Plan

Metlife provides an affordable individual medical plan. It provides coverage to salaried individuals, self-employed and also sponsored dependents in the UAE. This medical plan was approved by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

  1. Can get medical visits to a general physician in the UAE
  2. Can get coverage on the pharmacy bills
  3. Can get treatments from a wide range of medical centers, hospitals, in the UAE
  4. Provides coverage for preventive services i.e. vaccines that are mandated by DHA
  5. Can get coverage for emergency medical treatments as well


UAE government understanding he important of health insurance due to increased number of casualties and sudden death rate in the recent time, have to make sure to facilitate all the citizen including immigrants and expatriates too in term of health care.

Thus, packages and schemes based on expatriate health insurance should no be ignored and once should take advantage of these packages.

Read More…

Understanding the Importance of Health Insurance in the UAE

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Understanding Maternity Insurance in the UAE: A Complete Overview

Originally published Jan 07, 2021 14:32:00 PM, updated Jun 05, 2024

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