Expat Health Insurance UAE

By Laxita Gautam
  | Published: 13 July 2021 | Last Updated On: 06 September 2021

Don’t gamble with your health, get the right cover at the right price.

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Health Insurance

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Buying health insurance for?
  • Self/Family
  • Domestic Workers
  • Investor

Leaving your home country and moving to the UAE might seem a bit daunting at first. Starting a new life in a foreign land has some not-so-fun bits. You will have to find a new job, a new house, get a new driving license and not to mention, a new Expat health insurance in Dubai. Expatriate Health Insurance in Dubai and several other parts of the UAE is mandatory. Every Expat must at least have the basic or essential healthcare cover as specified by DHA, the Dubai Health Authority.

What is Expat Health Insurance?

Expat health insurance covers are the insurance covers that are designed specifically to meet the healthcare needs of Expats as well as their dependents in the UAE. The healthcare system of the UAE is one of the best ones in the world with state-of-the-art facilities and medical equipment. However, these exceptional facilities come at a high cost if you do not have proper health insurance cover to help you manage the cost.

Expatriate Health Insurance Eligibility Criteria in the UAE

Every Expat in the UAE, any emirate whatsoever is eligible to take on an insurance plan if they are either a salaried employee with an organisation or are self-employed. Although, every employer in Dubai is obligated to offer at least an Essential Basic Plan (EBF). This is a plan designed by DHA that contains the basic required healthcare service that every employee must-have. Anyone earning AED 4000 or less per month is eligible for an EBF insurance plan in Dubai. Any Expat earning more than AED 4000 are free to choose a health insurance plan with better benefits.

The non-salaried family members of an Expat can be added as dependents in most group health insurance plans that are offered by corporates in the UAE. Depending on the plan made available to you, you can choose to add up to 4 eligible dependents to your health insurance cover. These 4 people can include 1 spouse and 3 children. If you are planning to buy a personal health insurance plan and want your dependents to be included, you can go for a family health insurance plan as well. The basic requirement for any Expat health insurance plan would require you to be salaried or self-employed with documents supporting your residency in the UAE.

Buying Expat Medical Insurance in the UAE

If you are a salaried employee, you will be covered by the group health insurance plan of your organisation automatically. The process of getting the coverage started with a group insurance plan can differ for every firm. Your HR representative will help you through that. Although, you will not need any special documentation for that since you would already have submitted the required ones at the time of your joining.

How to Buy a Private Expat Medical Insurance?

If you are planning to buy a separate personal Expatriate Health Insurance cover, you can do that in a few simple ways –

  • From Insurance Aggregators: Insurance aggregators are the top preferred way to buy health insurance in the UAE. You can simply browse the plans online from the database of aggregators like PolicyBazaar UAE, compare providers, compare benefits and finally buy the plan. Since moving to a new country can be a hassle, comparing health insurance plans manually by visiting every provider can be tiresome. You can also opt to take a little bit of assistance from the financial experts available to choose the right plans. On top of that, Expats medical insurance plans bought online begin the cover the very next day in most cases.
  • From the Insurance Providers Directly: If your eyes are set on a provider already, you can also choose to visit their office directly or the online website to buy expatriate healthcare insurance. Almost all top health insurance providers in the UAE have an online portal for insurance shopping now. You can simply log in and proceed with buying the plan. If you like your task accomplished the traditional ways, visiting a branch of the insurance providers is also an option.

Application Process

  • Obtain the Quote: The first step in the procedure of buying Expat health insurance in Dubai is obtaining an insurance quote. The quote is determined after you have answered a series of basic questions. This may include your age, the number of people to be insured, your residency area, etc. Some quote forms may also contain a section for pre-existing diseases. Once you have filled this form, you will be presented with a list of plans that you can take with the annual premium amount.
  • Fill out the Application Form: After you have chosen an expatriate healthcare plan from the available list, it is time to fill the application form. This form can differ as per the insurance provider so make sure you fill it out correctly.
  • Supply the Documents: The next step is to add the supporting documents to the form. Upload them in the required format if you are buying your plan online or simply attach a copy with the physical form in the offline process.
  • Pay the Premium: The final step is t make the payment and seal the deal. Online payments can be generally made using cards and wallets. Checks are accepted for offline payments along with cards.

Whether you apply for your Expat medical insurance offline or online, the process is going to be pretty much the same. The only difference would be that you will have to call the insurance company to get a quote for the insurance plan in the offline process. The form-filling and submission will also have to be done in person.

Documents Required

Following are the basic documents that you may require when buying a private Expat health insurance in Dubai:

  • Passport – copy and the original one
  • Resident Visa – a copy and the original
  • Passport size photographs – as recent as possible and scanned for online applications
  • Address proof – in form of utility bills or any other accepted form
  • Proof of Marriage – if including spouse as a dependent
  • Proof of child enrolment – to add children as dependents
  • Contact details of your doctor – in case the insurance company required a medical history check

Note that an insurance provider may ask for a few additional documents as per their policies. Make sure you have checked beforehand and have all the documents on hand if you plan to buy the Expat health insurance plan offline.

Why Do I Need Expatriate Healthcare Insurance?

The public healthcare system of the UAE healthcare system is exceptionally well-maintained and is considered to be one of the best ones around the world. However, it only offers discounted services to the citizens of the UAE which means that you will need an insurance plan as an Expat to cover the expenses. Moreover, being in a foreign country without a long list of relatives or old friends living just a call away can be hard. If you do not have expatriate medical insurance, you will probably end up with a rather unwanted surprise.

Getting the health card to receive some relief with the public healthcare system of the UAE is a good idea, sure. But the process to obtain one can be extremely hard and often confusing. Relying just on the public healthcare of the UAE can still be a bad idea. Having a backup in a new place is one of the first things everyone should do, especially in the case of healthcare.

As a cherry on top of the cake, Expat health insurance in Dubai is generally portable. You can easily shift the main country from the UAE to any other available country with the provider if you decide to move. It can be a new place of work or your home country too. This simply means that you can have multiple benefits wrapped in a single package with Expat medical insurance in Dubai.

Types of Expat Medical Insurance Plans Available in the UAE

There can be ‘n’ number of health insurance plans offered to expatriates depending on the providers. However, there are some basic types that you will find with almost every provider:

  • Individual Health Insurance Plans: As the name suggests, these plans are designed to cover a single individual only. Any salaried or self-employed expatriate can opt for these plans. They cover all basic benefits like hospitalisation and medicines along with several add-on services.
  • Family Health Insurance Plans: These plans are designed to cover the whole family under a single plan including parents, spouse and children. Any expatriate with a constant income can take these plans in their name and add family members as dependents. These plans also cover all kinds of basic benefits while offering some exciting add-on services.
  • Dependent Health Insurance Plans: These plans are generally designed keeping the house help and other occupations in mind. The basic healthcare benefits are ideally covered in these plans as well.
  • Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plans: Senior citizen health insurance is for applicants older than 70-75 years. You can cover your parents up to the age of 75 as a dependent in your family insurance plan but after that, they will need a senior citizen insurance plan. These plans are specially designed keeping the special needs of old-age in mind.
  • Critical Illness Health Insurance Plans: A special cover that offers lump-sum compensation when and if you are diagnosed with a critical illness. The critical illnesses covered in the plan can differ for every plan and provider though.

Expat Health Insurance General Inclusions and Add-Ons

  • Hospitalisation with other accommodation related services
  • Intensive care
  • Surgeries and anaesthetic charges
  • Diagnostic tests and lab tests
  • Prescription medicines
  • Emergency medical expenses and treatment
  • Day-care treatment
  • Rehabilitation therapy sessions
  • Nursing fees
  • Extended hospital stays
  • Doctor consultation (general physician only)
  • Out-patient treatments and surgeries
  • Pre-hospitalisation services like ambulance charges
  • Medical evacuation when abroad
  • Maternity cover
  • Dental Cover (add-on)
  • Optical Cover (add-on)
  • Pre-existing diseases (after a waiting period)
  • Children’s immunology and vaccinations

Expat Health Insurance General Exclusions

  • Self-inflicted injuries or suicide
  • Injuries or illness due to substance abuse
  • Undeclared pre-existing illnesses
  • Injuries from hazardous activities
  • Adventure sports injuries
  • Injuries from an act of war or conflict
  • Injuries caused by natural disasters
  • Cosmetic and obesity-related surgeries and treatments
  • Medically optional surgeries and treatments
  • Experimental treatments
  • Fertility-related treatments and surgeries
  • Prosthetic aids
  • Alternative medicines

How Much Does Expat Medical Insurance Cost?

The cost of your Expat health insurance in Dubai depends on a variety of factors. If you opt for essential benefits plans, the cost would fall somewhere between AED 600 – AED 700. From here, the higher you go on benefits, the higher the cost will be. Depending on the kind of plan you are buying and the benefit included, good, all-inclusive health insurance can even cost AED 50,000 per annum. Basic private health insurance plans with decent benefits can fall somewhere around AED 5,000 to AED 10,000, depending on the assured insurance sum and the benefits.

Why Should Expats Take Out Private Health and Medical Cover?

The public health insurance available in the UAE for expatriates is not very comprehensive. It only offers an assured benefit of up to AED 150,000 which is further divided into the benefits included in the plan. This makes public healthcare insurance quite insufficient for someone who wants more comprehensive coverage. Private Expat health insurance plans are costlier than the basic healthcare public plan but they offer benefits that make it worthwhile to spend that much money. You not only get better benefits and a wider coverage of services but also international cover and portability features.

Benefits of Taking Out International Expat Insurance

If you are in the UAE for work, there is a chance that you could travel to other countries for the same reason too. If you happen to leave the UAE for a significant amount of time, your international Expat insurance will keep covering you in your new country of residence. As a citizen of the country of your work, the chance of travelling for such long periods are low. But as an Expat, these chances are significantly high. Meaning, getting an international Expat insurance plan can work wonders for you as an Expat.

Things to Keep in Mind About Expat Health Insurance and UAE Healthcare

The process of obtaining an Expat health insurance in the UAE is pretty much the same as it is in any other country. The important thing that you should know about is the coverage of the plan that you choose. Keep the following points in mind when choosing a healthcare plan for yourself and your family as an expatriate in the UAE:

  • The coverage of your plan should be good enough to cover at least all the major healthcare expenses like big surgeries and hospitalisation expenses. If your yearly income is on a higher scale and you can afford to spend a significant amount on health insurance, you should take that step. Healthcare is expensive in any corner of the world which makes health insurance a worthwhile investment.
  • Only buy your expatriate medical insurance plans from licensed aggregators and providers. The UAE has a very strict system of giving out insurance licenses to the companies and the legitimate ones will have one. Steer clear of all unlicensed firms and providers.
  • Try and add some research to your process. Comparison is the key to buy goods, whether it is a car or an expatriate health insurance plan.
  • Taking a little bit of assistance from insurance aggregators like PolicyBazaar UAE will also go a long way. You may not be able to research all the current trends on your own in a given time. Experts in the area can help you make a more informed, better decision.

Expat Health Insurance FAQs

Q1. What are some of the best and top-preferred Expat health insurances?

Ans: UAE has several top-rated regional and international healthcare providers for Expats. All the providers offer great private expatriate health insurance plans which can be compared to see which suits you the best.

Q2. How can an Expat get healthcare and healthcare insurance in the UAE?

Ans: Getting healthcare in UAE is very easy for Expats. All you need is a full-time job or an established business with a constant income and all the required papers. You can easily get insurance from your employer as a mandatory job-related benefit or you can buy a private expatriate healthcare plan from any of the available providers in the country.

As far as healthcare services are concerned, Expats have to mostly rely on the private healthcare system of the UAE. Public healthcare also caters to Expats but it is mostly for emergencies that too with a UAE health card.

Q3. Is it necessary for Expats to have health insurance in the UAE?

Ans: Yes, Expats need health insurance regardless of the country they are travelling to. Being in a foreign country and stuck with a medical emergency can be very problematic and health insurance can help you with that. On top of that, having a basic health insurance plan is mandatory in the UAE for all Expats.

Q4. Do expatriate healthcare insurances also cover family members?

Ans: The coverage for dependents and family members completely depends on the kind of insurance plan you choose or provided by your employers. Several employers offer dependent-inclusive group insurance to their employees which include 1 spouse and up to 3 children. If you are buying private Expat health insurance in Dubai, a family plan would offer the optimum coverage to your family and dependents.

Q5. Am I covered by my Expat medical insurance plan while I travel?

Ans: If you opt for international Expat insurance in Dubai, you will be covered for the time being of your travels. However, this only includes medical expenses and not travel related covers such as flights and baggage.

Q6. Who is eligible to buy Expat health insurance in Dubai and the UAE?

Ans: Anyone over the age of 18 years and below the age of 75 years (plus-minus a few years) can buy Expat health insurance in the UAE. The applicant needs to have a constant source of income via a salaried job or business with supporting documents of the same.

Q7. Am I still covered by Expat health insurance in Dubai if I frequently travel to multiple countries?

Ans: As long as your plan specifies worldwide coverage, you will be covered for all medically necessary treatments and services as well as repatriation expenses and medical evacuation.

Q8. How can I claim my Expat medical insurance policy?

Ans: An Expat medical insurance plan can be claimed using any of the two basic methods – cashless or reimbursement. The type of claim you can make will depend on the terms of your plan and the kind of service you are claiming for. For example, treatments taken from network hospitals and medical facilities can be applied for direct cashless claims and out-patient services can be reimbursed later.

Q9. Is an expatriate health insurance plan renewable?

Ans: The auto-renew service may not be available with these health insurance plans but you can extend the coverage for as long as you like by renewing at the end of each plan tenure.

Q10. Can Expat insurance be the same as travel insurance?

Ans: Even though you are covered by your Expat medical insurance plan when you travel abroad, it still doesn’t make it the same as travel insurance. Travel insurance will cover your complete journey starting from the flights, accommodations, baggage and medical expenses, while the health insurance plan only covers medical emergencies.

Q11. What is co-pay in my Expat medical insurance plan?

Ans: A health insurance plan with co-pay, whether for expatriates or citizens, will have a pre-decided amount that is to be paid by the policyholder when they apply for a full expense claim. For example, if your prescription medicine cover has 20% co-pay applicable and you submit a claim with AED 100 as total expenses on the medicines. In this case, the insurance company will only pay AED 80 out of the total AED 100 because AED 20 (20% of the total amount) is to be paid by you as co-pay. Note that, not all Expat medical insurance plans will have co-pay. It depends on the providers and specific plans.

Q12. What is the waiting period for pre-existing diseases cover?

Ans: Every health insurance plan in the UAE is supposed to provide a mandatory cover for pre-existing diseases. Some plans may offer it right from the beginning while others may have a waiting period of 6 months to a year or two.

Q13. Can an Expat insurance plan be cancelled or terminated?

Ans: Yes, you can easily cancel your expatriate healthcare insurance plan at any time you like.

Q14. What is the difference between global medical insurance and Expat medical insurance?

Ans: Both these terms refer to the same kind of insurance plans and are often used interchangeably as well.  

Laxita Gautam
Laxita Gautam

Senior Content Writer | She functions on classic British fiction, Japanese manga, and strong americanos. Laxita is tailor-made to create engaging, interactive pieces that offer simplified insights into complex subjects.