In today’s fast-moving life, health issues are increasing day by day; hence, having a health insurance policy has become an essential part of life. It is important to administer a high level of health care in the UAE and to ensure this, health insurances play a massive role. Also, reliable healthcare is a necessity for ex-pats residing in the region.
The Dubai Health Insurance Law number 11 of 2013 which came into effect on the 1st of January 2014, ruled medical insurance mandatory in Dubai. As per the given law, all Emiratis and expatriates in Dubai, are obligated along with their dependents, to have health insurance. In case, there is no proof of health insurance, monthly fines will have to be incurred upon the individual. The Dubai Health Insurance Law Article 23 provides that if an employer is unable to provide his employee with health insurance, otherwise the employee file a complaint against the employer with the help of a well-qualified lawyer, and then the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) or the concerned authority may impose penalties averaging from Dh500 to Dh150,000. However, penalties may reach Dh500,000 if the employer violates this law frequently.
The health insurance rules vary from emirate to emirate in the UAE, depending on the individual policies.
The UAE nationals in the emirate of Abu Dhabi are provided with comprehensive medical coverage under a Thiqa program by the Abu Dhabi Government. In this program, the citizen will get a Thiqa card giving them access t a large number of both private as well as public health care facilities in the National Health insurance company’s network. They also include a wider geographical coverage and provide additional medical benefits. To avail of this insurance, a person must be a UAE national residing in Abu Dhabi, aged 18 to 75 years, and must undergo a “Weqaya” screening through the department of health – Abu Dhabi.
The citizens of Dubai, are provided with a health insurance program called “Saada” which aims to provide insurance coverage for citizens who do not presently benefit from any other government health program of the Emirate. The program provides medical and health services within a wide network of healthcare service providers in the private sector, in addition to the services they receive in the health centers of the Dubai Health Authority. The “Saada” program relied on the use of the ID card instead of the traditional insurance card, in order to register and benefit from all the benefits of the program. Customers in Dubai can make comments and raise complaints about health insurance services through the electronic portal for health insurance customers in the Emirate of Dubai (iPROMeS), which is provided by the Dubai Health Authority.
The Health Insurance Department of the Sharjah Health Authority oversees medical insurance for Sharjah citizens. Health insurance covers all employees and retirees of the Government of Sharjah and their families. In January 2020, His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, announced the expansion of health insurance to cover all citizens of the emirate. Sharjah issues health cards to the beneficiaries of the Department of Social Services, the people of Sharjah, and people of determination to benefit from the services of the University Hospital in Sharjah.
The Ajman government provides all its employees with the benefit of health insurance. Through the website, you can get a list of hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies approved by the health insurance network, and download payment claim forms.
2. For expats:
The scope of insurance coverage for employees and their families is determined by the employee’s salary, job position, and other matters. The cost of medical services provided to the resident is determined according to the scope of coverage and the insurance program.
In Abu Dhabi, Employers and sponsors are liable for administering health insurance for employees and their families. This adds insurance for one spouse and three children under 18.
In the Emirate of Dubai, the government requires employers to provide health insurance to their employees only, not their families. On the other hand, sponsors must provide the required insurance coverage for their sponsored people.
However, for the other Emirates, employees who do not have health insurance from their employers can purchase private health insurance for themselves and their families with an average cost of around AED 10,000 per year. Also, there are many health insurances one can go for in the UAE such as the Sehteq, DINRC Health Insurance, MetLife Health Insurance, etc. and some of them provide Islamic insurance products such as (Takaful). Although the prices of health insurance in the UAE make it the 7th most expensive nation in the world nevertheless there is a reason why it ranks as the top medical tourism center in the world.