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Medical Insurance in Dubai

All expatriates living, working or visiting Dubai should have a complete comprehensive healthcare/medical insurance. Expatriates living or working in Dubai, people may not have the same kind of accessibility to healthcare as that of local population. In fact, the only healthcare available to visitors or expatriates without insurance are in life-threatening or emergency cases, wherein the service is provided free of cost. Therefore, it is better to have some professional advice on how to choose the right expatriate medical insurance in Dubai.

Medical facilities in public hospitals in Dubai are very good, and deal with emergencies free of charge. However, it is wise to take a medical insurance covering all eventualities. Expatriate workers tend to choose private treatment, provided, they are covered under medical insurance, as private care can be very expensive.

In case you are working in Dubai, there are companies that cover medical insurance, although some companies do not do so. In Dubai, medical insurance is not mandatory for all employers. Private medical insurance in Dubai has no provision to automatically permit procedures to be carried out in public hospitals. Therefore, expats will have to visit private health practitioners if they wish to use their private medical insurance to pay for a procedure.

It is easiest to obtain health insurance, through application of a health insurance card, which will cost nearly USD300, and they come with one-year validity. There are several international insurance companies specializing in private health insurance in Dubai and elsewhere. The best way out however, is to find a potential employer who covers expenses of your medical insurance. Comprehensive healthcare can roughly cost about Dh.180 (USD50) per month for regional coverage.

There are private health insurance providers or medical insurance plans that cover all unanticipated diseases. But this depends on the type of medical insurance. Usually, it provides immediate financial assistance for death, permanent total disability, permanent partial disability, temporary total disability, accidental medical expenses, and repatriation expenses.

When choosing a policy:

When choosing policies, you should also consider benefits of various policies. Just as when choosing all other policies, read the fine print, particularly about what is covered and what isnít. Every policy will include limitations and restrictions, like for instance, pre-existing medical conditions may not be covered. At times, certain high-risk sports are not covered, although the definition of the term 'high-risk' may vary from one insurer to another.

When choosing private medical insurance, it is important to consider the amount of cover, exclusions, and general medical benefits that can be obtained by the insured. Some healthcare services, such as overnight hospital room rates may be subsidised for non-UAE nationals.

Some companies also limit costs for a particular treatment within a calendar year, apart from having an overall annual limit for all treatment. However, it is better to avoid certain suspicious policies such as those that restrict the duration of your stay in the hospital, those that fix an upper age limit for acceptance of a scheme, and any private health policy that terminates on retirement.

Expatriates can either obtain their own health insurance, or apply for a health card issued by the Health Ministry. However, as an expatriate, you should be aware that public hospitals in Dubai only accept foreign patients with health cards on emergency basis. Expatriates can purchase their own health insurance and apply for a health card from the Health Ministry, which they can use in case of emergency, to gain accessibility into the state system. In short, if you own a private medical insurance, you are expected to visit a private hospital for non-emergency cases. Therefore, it is good to know the location and contact details of your nearest private hospitals in Dubai.

Private medical insurance boosted

Just as in several other countries, the UAE is promoting private health provision, along with private insurance, aimed at developing the private sector within legal frameworks. This forms a part of upgrade of both public and private sectors.

The end objective is to make UAE as centre for health tourism. The UAE is working jointly with Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins Medical School. The latter already manages healthcare systems in Abu Dhabi, including the 469-bed Tawam Hospital. Dubai is now ready to draw health tourists too.


Some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines are not permitted in the UAE. The UAE Health Ministry permits individuals to bring in medicines into the country for their personal use. Nearly three months supply of a prescription item can be brought into the country by a visitor, and, up to 12 months supply by a resident, provided, they produce a doctorís letter or copy of original prescription. Narcotic items are strictly prohibited in the UAE.

Visitors can get in touch with the Health Ministry Drug Control Department to check if a certain medication is among the controlled list and needs permission for importation.

To contact the customer service centre of the drug control department at the Health Ministry, mail to or call +971 2 611 7240.

Common health ailments in Dubai, UAE:

Some of the most common health conditions affecting expatriates in Dubai are respiratory ailments (probably due to excess sand arising from construction activities here), heat stroke and sunburn, and dehydration.

It is important to seek medical advice and ensure vaccinations are up-to-date before travelling to UAE, including protection against Hepatitis A and B, tetanus, and other common infectious diseases such as chicken pox, viral hepatitis B and pulmonary tuberculosis. All permanent residents will have to compulsorily take up the annual medical check-up for HIV.

Further, the UAE Health Ministry confirms that there are cases of H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) still prevalent in the UAE.

Other useful websites for checking updates on any recent health pandemics are Ministry of Health website or World Health Organization

Cost of insurance:

Medical consultations may cost about AED150, while a night visit can cost nearly AED300. A hip replacement surgery may average to AED50,000, while a knee replacement may average to AED40,000. Medicines can be quite expensive.

Therefore, a good medical insurance plan, which is more than just a basic cover, may be the ideal way to avoid an unexpected large bill.

The latest news is that insurance companies in the UAE are likely to raise their health rates this year, in case, there is a fresh increase in cost of medical services.

Back in 2011, several health insurance companies suffered losses, and any new increase in the cost of medical services this year is likely to affect health insurance rates, it is said. The cost of medical services in the UAE had already grown steadily over the past five years.

Therefore, insurance firms have no option but to increase their rates to cope with expensive medical services, to avoid further losses.

Contact details of few health and medical insurance firms in Dubai:

  • Mednet UAE FZ LLC

    Office 210, P.O. Box 8953 Building 13, Dubai Internet City,
    Tel: 04-3900710 Fax: 04-3908600

  • Al Khazna Insurance Company PSC

    P.O.Box 8953, Al Masaood building, Maktoum Street, Deira, Dubai
    Tel: 04-2944088

  • Arab Gulf Health Services LLC

    113, Chili's building, Al Garhoud, Dubai
    Tel: 04-6056700

  • Arab Gulf Health Services LLC

    113, Chili's building, Al Garhoud, Dubai
    Tel: 04-6056700

  • Axa Insurance (Gulf) BSC (C)

    P.O.Box 290, G Floor, Wafi Residential Centre, Wafi City, Dubai
    Tel: 800-4845

  • City Life Insurance Broker LLC

    P.O.Box 211067, 605, Al Safa Tower (Mostafawi Carpet building), Khalid Bin Waleed St
    Tel: 04-3517203

  • Dubai National Insurance and Reinsurance PSC

    P.O.Box 211067, 605, Al Safa Tower (Mostafawi Carpet building), Khalid Bin Waleed St
    Tel: 04-2956700

  • Expat Services GmbH (Dubai Branch)

    601, Tower D, Executive Towers, Business Bay, Dubai
    Tel: 04-4534749

  • Good Health Worldwide LLC

    416, Oud Metha building, Oud Metha Road, Dubai, P.O.Box 6380
    Tel: 04-3240040

  • LIC International

    102, Baituti building, Opposite Fish & Veg Market, Karama
    Tel: 04-3354858

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