The United Arab Emirates is a land of incredible opportunities, almost negligible taxes, fantastic after-work life, pristine beaches, and clear skies throughout the year. No wonder almost 90% of the people residing in the UAE are expatriates.
If you are considering moving to the United Arab Emirates for work or business, along with exploring career opportunities, you should research UAE expatriate health insurance to gain access to seamless private health care.
Understanding the Health Care System in the UAE
The UAE offers both public and private health care systems. Almost 80% of the UAE’s health care system is a private enterprise. The public health care system in the UAE is available to Emirati nationals at almost zero cost, or at least at subsidized rates.
The public health care system in the UAE includes services like:
- Basic GP consultation
- Emergency health care facilities
- Consultation with specialist doctors
- Medical prescriptions
- Hospitalization charges
- Treatment and surgery
- Follow-up consultation
- Family care
The public health care system in the UAE doesn’t include ophthalmological, auditory, or dental care services.
Note that free public health facilities are only available to UAE nationals. Expatriates living in the UAE do not have free access to the country’s public health services.
What Is Expatriate Health Insurance?
Expat health insurance is a specialized insurance designed for expats. UAE expatriate health insurance covers your health care costs during your stay in the country. Expat health insurance plans are your best bet to safeguard yourself in the unfortunate event of illness or accidents.
Expatriate health insurance is often mistaken for travel insurance. But, in reality, the two are quite different. While travel insurance offers basic protection against incidents like cancellation of flights, theft of baggage, and other travel-related problems. it doesn’t offer comprehensive health care benefits. Expatriate health insurance provides overall health care coverage in different countries around the world.
Why Do I Need Expatriate Health Insurance?
Though the UAE offers free public health insurance to its citizens, expatriates are not eligible for public health benefits. To obtain access to the UAE’s public health care system, expatriates need to apply for a Health Card from the UAE Ministry of Health.
Though a Health Card may give you access to UAE’s public health care system, it is highly recommended to get an expatriate health insurance plan, as well. This type of insurance gives you seamless access to the private health care system—without the anxiety of an impending massive medical bill.
The key limitations of public health care system that make expat insurance worth your while are:
- Overcrowding: Since the public health care system is free, a vast majority of the local populace depends on it, leading to overcrowding and delayed access to health care.
- Language barrier: Since most public health care systems are meant to serve the local population, the majority of the medical staff, as well as doctors, speak Arabic. English-speaking staff is limited, leading to communication problems for many expats.
- Limited services: Public health care facilities in the UAE offer limited services and may not provide specialized medical attention.
According to UAE regulations, it is mandatory for all residents of the UAE to have health insurance. This rule applies to both employed as well as unemployed residents.
So, if you are relocating to the UAE along with your family, remember to buy an expatriate health insurance plan that covers your entire family. There are hefty fines imposed by the UAE government in case of failure to obtain health insurance. Fines may amount to almost 500 AED ($135 USD) or more in extreme cases.
Benefits of a UAE Expatriate Health Insurance Plan
An expatriate health insurance plan covers comprehensive specialized treatments, meaning that you’ll have immediate access to all types of medical treatments and procedures. It includes:
- Hospitalization benefits: physician consultation charges, diagnostic tests, prescribed medication, room and surgical charges, nursing, psychiatric care, organ transplants, cancer treatment, and parental accommodation
- Outpatient benefits: GP/physician consultation, diagnostic tests, prescribed medication, psychiatric care, organ transplants, cancer treatment, physiotherapy, and pain management
- Special services during emergency, accident, death
- Maternity care
- Dental care
- Preventive care
- Oncological care
- Optical care
Modular plans: Expatriate health insurance provides the flexibility of modular plans. Basically, you only pay for the type of coverage that you choose. If you are a single traveller, you may opt out of family coverage to save money. Similarly, you may choose from a wide variety of plans and benefits to suit your individual requirements.
Global coverage: Most expatriate health insurance plans provide coverage not only in the UAE but also in any other countries that you may travel to.
No Language Barrier: Expatriate health insurance providers offer access to global hospitals and medical infrastructure. Medical staff and doctors in these organizations are specially trained to cater to international clients and speak English fluently.
Preferential treatment: Buying an expatriate health insurance also provides you with the benefit of preferential treatment. You won’t have to worry about waiting in overcrowded, depressing hospital lounges, thanks to the preferential access offered by expat health insurance.
Use this website for a comprehensive comparison of different UAE expat health insurance plans. Compare plans, select your coverage, and buy your expat health insurance to enjoy complete security on the health-care front while you’re in the UAE.