5 Things to Consider When Comparing Health Cover in the UAE

5 Things to Consider When Comparing Health Cover in the UAE

If you are trying to work out which health cover will be best for you and your family while living in the UAE it’s worth taking some time to really explore all the options.  There are plenty of insurance companies available in the UAE and all offer their own variations of health insurance plans.  It can be a rather daunting task trying to find the health policy that delivers everything you need, at the right price too!

Do remember, that if you live in Dubai, it is now law that all residents of this Emirate must have a health insurance policy in place (as of June 2016).  This also applies to Abu Dhabi where it is also mandatory that a suitable policy is in place for all residents.

As with anywhere in the world, when it comes to choosing the right insurance policy there are lots of factors to consider.  Obviously, budget is number one, but you do need to make sure you have the right coverage.  Consider all of the following points:

  • Pre-Existing Conditions

This refers to any conditions that you or a member of your family already have, for example, a hearing loss, a disability or a medical condition.  It will impact your policy price.  As a word of caution, it is best to be upfront about any medical condition that exists because otherwise, it could pose a stumbling block in the future.  Many insurers will cover you 100% for pre-existing conditions but some companies will only cover you after a “cooling off” period, that could be 6 months after initially taking out the policy.  Some insurance providers will cap your limit on claiming for a pre-existing condition (as an example, many health insurance providers in the UAE cap at Dir152,000).

  • Cooling Off Periods

You might find you have cooling off periods for other conditions, not just pre-existing and that’s to stop people taking out health insurance policies to treat an existing condition.  Cooling off periods can be anything from 3 months to 6 months.

  • Hospital Coverage

It is worth checking that your hospital preference is covered by your chosen health provider and that’s because not all insurers cover all hospitals.  So, make sure any clinic or hospital that you prefer is definitely covered or you might find you have to use specific medical centres for future conditions.  Ask for a list before taking out cover and make sure you have cover for a local hospital too or you might have to travel quite far.  Most insurers settle treatment charges direct with the hospital which is convenient as it removes the need for you to deal with endless paperwork!


  • Additional Payments

Do be aware that any health insurer you use in the UAE is at liberty to charge you additional amounts for deductibles (sometimes referred to as co-insurance or co-payment).  Deductibles include:

  • Fixed amount per visit where the policyholder pays a on-off amount for every doctor’s visit, it’s usually a nominal amount of Dir50 and covers outpatients only
  • All policies still require the holder to pay a certain amount of treatment cost, it is usually around 10% but for dental treatment it rises to 20%.


  • Exclusions

There are usually exclusions in health insurance policies in the UAE.  You do need to check with your provider of choice, or when you are shopping around for a list of what those exclusions are.  If you don’t do this, you might find you aren’t covered for something you need to be later on down the line. Some conditions are permanently excluded so think carefully before you make your final selection.