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Health insurance in Dubai for expatriates
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Since 2014, Dubai has introduced a compulsory health insurance scheme: the Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare, which includes certain obligations for expatriates and employers. Here is an update on the features of this particular insurance scheme.

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Health insurance in Dubai: how does it work?

The compulsory health insurance system in Dubai is very different from the French social security system. 

In the United Arab Emirates, nationals generally have free access to all the country's public health facilities; however, they must pay for the use of private health facilities. As for foreign residents, although they can benefit from care when they need it, their expenses are entirely at their own expense in both the public and private sectors. 

In order to remedy this problem, Dubai, like Abu Dhabi, has decided to require foreign residents to be privately insured. In Dubai, foreign employees are compulsorily covered by basic health insurance financed by their employer. Residents with another status (retirees, self-employed, unemployed, students, etc.) must take out their own health insurance. 
 
The minimum cover includes a whole series of compulsory benefits:

  • coverage of medical emergencies;
  • access to a general practitioner;
  • consultations with specialists referred by a general practitioner;
  • tests, examinations and treatment prescribed by the general practitioner or specialist;
  • reconstructive surgery;
  • physiotherapy;
  • maternity care.

Good to know: dental and optical care is not included in expatriate and local health insurance, except in case of emergency.

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The impact of health cover for expatriates in Dubai

Since the introduction of this system, taking out a health insurance policy approved by the authorities is now compulsory to obtain a visa, such as a residence permit.

> Read also: Getting a visa for the United Arab Emirates

Thanks to this global coverage, a large number of expatriate workers from India and North African countries who were not previously covered can benefit from health insurance.

This measure has also changed the situation for other categories of expatriates, both middle and high class: since then, all of them have to be insured with local licensed companies, authorised to offer health insurance contracts.

However, many expatriates choose to supplement their basic local insurance with a complementary international insurance policy, allowing them to benefit from adapted guarantees:

  • access to the country's private health facilities, which avoid the waiting times imposed by certain public establishments;
  • coverage of care provided not only in the United Arab Emirates but also in other countries;
  • coverage of dental and optical care;
  • repatriation assistance;
  • access to telemedicine services.
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