International healthcare, medical insurance in Dubai


The benefits available to expatriates working and living in Dubai are limited to free healthcare. There is no social security system in Dubai, so no benefits are payable if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. In recent years, Dubai's rulers have begun to encourage international companies to provide healthcare insurance for their foreign employees, to ease the burden on the public healthcare system.

If you are not provided with insurance by your employer, you will find a wide variety of companies offering medical insurance to the expatriate in Dubai. As with all insurance purchases, it is important to compare the policies on offer carefully, paying particular attention to the 'small print' and exclusions of each policy to ensure that you fully understand the level of cover provided. Almost all policies will exclude pre-existing medical conditions from cover, while others may exclude 'high risk' leisure activities, the definition of which can vary from policy to policy. Many policies have a limit on the amount payable per treatment, or in a given calendar year and some even limit the number of days hospital stay that you will be covered for.

If you need to make a claim, make sure that you fully understand your insurance company's requirements. Many insurance companies will require that the doctor/dentist who provided the treatment completes part or all of the claim form; while he or she might find this task a nuisance, you may have to insist if you want your claim to be successful.

Dental insurance policies are also available, often as an add-on to medical insurance policies, but they can be very expensive. Check carefully what the policy covers, particularly with regard to routine work such as examinations, x-rays and dental hygiene services.

Update 1/02/2009


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Expatriate health insurance in the United Arab Emirates

With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Dubai is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in the United Arab Emirates So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!

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Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

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