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Our complete guide to understanding the importance of international health insurance

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Health Insurance in Dubai: Full Guide



Not having health insurance in Dubai is the type of mistake you don’t want to make.

Its facilities are at the cutting edge of medical modernity. And this means that health fees can reach exorbitant prices. If you don’t have any medical policy, you will have to pay the full cost.

Here are some explanations on how to choose the right expat health insurance in Dubai!

Dubai, at the Forefront of Health Care

Excellence at a High Price

For several years now, Dubai has been developing a world-class medical offer. Its hospitals and clinics have ultra-modern equipment and highly qualified personnel in all specialties.

In 2002, Dubai even set up the Dubai Healthcare City. It’s the world’s largest free zone dedicated to healthcare, which includes many international clinics.

The level of care is excellent. So there is no need to worry about getting good attention in the country.

What should be more worrying is the bill that will come with this care. Would you be able to afford the services without private health insurance in Dubai?

The rates charged in the health sector go hand in hand with the excellence of the service. The general prices are:

  • The equivalent of 50 to 100 euros to see a general practitioner
  • About 100 to 250 euros to see a specialist.

This is a far cry from the prices charged in most of Europe. And it is even more true for dental care, whose prices are way more expensive.

In any case, there is no question of relying on your national Social Security to cover these expenses. The amounts covered will be insufficient in Dubai, and repatriation will not be covered.

Access to Public Health Insurance in Dubai for Foreigners

There is a public health system in Dubai, managed by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). It gives access to public hospitals through an insurance card and covers:

  • General practitioner
  • Specialist consultations on prescription
  • Surgery
  • Maternity care
  • Prescribed tests
  • Emergencies.

However, DHA does not cover optical or dental expenses.

Since 2015, all residents are required to take out health insurance in Dubai through the DHA.

This insurance is not free, and the rates are higher for foreigners (who represent 90% of the local population) than for nationals. Its cost is about 120 AED for children and 320 AED for adults.

It is to be requested on-site or by internet. For expat workers, it is the employer who must take care of the formalities to obtain it.

Private Health Insurance in Dubai Is a Must

Given the quality and diversity of health care in Dubai, most foreigners seek treatment in the private sector. And the DHA insurance card is of no use in these medical centers.

Due to the cost and risks involved, it is strongly recommended that all foreigners take out private health insurance. It should include medical care, hospitalization, and repatriation, whether it is for a short stay or an expatriation.

Many companies include Dubai international health insurance in their employee’s expatriation package. But these guarantees are not always present, nor it is always sufficient. Especially when it comes to international coverage or that of family members.

Residents need to subscribe to this contract in addition to the insurance of the Dubai Health Authority, which remains compulsory. It’s the best way to get complete coverage, in particular on dental and optical. Also to be covered outside Dubai, and in particular during your stays in your home country.

How to Choose Your Expat Health Insurance in Dubai

Dubai International Health Insurance with a 1st dollar contract

The so-called “1st dollar contracts” are the most often recommended solution in Dubai. They are suitable for short stays as well as expatriations, thanks to their great flexibility.

Designed by international insurance specialists, they are designed to cover all expatriates’ needs:

  • Health
  • Repatriation
  • Flight cancellation
  • Loss of luggage
  • Legal assistance
  • etc.

The “1st dollar contracts” offer an excellent quality-price ratio. Some of their features are:

  • They are available in many formulas to best fit the budget and specific needs of each person.
  • They are easy to manage (contracts and procedures in English, dedicated mobile applications, etc.),
  • They cover health expenses at the real cost and from the first euro/dollar/pound spent.

The main drawback of this type of health insurance in Dubai is the obligation to fill out a medical questionnaire when applying.

In case of pre-existing medical conditions (chronic illness or serious history for example), certain guarantees may be excluded from the coverage. Or they may lead to a significant increase in the cost.

You should not hesitate to compare different companies when choosing your insurance.

Expat Health Insurance in Dubai With Social Security + a Complimentary Policy

Your country’s Social Security may offer you health coverage when you move abroad. But it’s almost useless when you are an expatriate in Dubai. The guarantees tend to be limited, and the reimbursements are too low. Plus repatriation is not covered in most cases.

So, to improve the coverage you should get a complimentary policy. But this also makes the costs higher, and multiply the paperwork. In case of needing assistance, you would have to communicate with two different entities that might not reach an agreement.

The biggest advantage with Social Security is the absence of a medical questionnaire at the time of enrollment. This avoids any restrictions in case of pre-existing medical conditions.

Make Sure Your Health Insurance for Dubai Is Compliant!

The easiest way to choose your ex-pat health insurance in Dubai is to use an online comparison tool.

This free tool allows you to quickly obtain a selection of offers adapted to your profile, accompanied by detailed quotes. You can then simply compare the benefits and rates to choose the one that best suits your budget.

But be careful when subscribing. To be valid, the insurance must be chosen from a company certified by the Dubai authorities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is DHA?

The DHA is a public health insurance system in Dubai. It’s managed by the Dubai Health Authority. It does not cover optical or dental expenses.

What is the Emirates Pack?

It’s a type of Dubai international health insurance. Some countries have an agreement between their Social Security and the Dubai Health Authority. Thanks to it, they can offer a good level of coverage at an affordable price.

What are the advantages of the Emirates pack?

The beneficiary has similar advantages to those of the “1st dollar” contracts:
– Partnership with a local insurer (single point of contact and simplified management)
– Fast assistance in English.

Who can benefit from the Emirates pack?

Your country must have subscribed to an agreement with the Dubai Health Authority.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.


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