• published on 4/6/2023
  • 5min

The UAE Healthcare and Insurance system

Discover the important things to know about the healthcare and Insurance system in the UAE.

The UAE Healthcare and Insurance system

The United Arab Emirates is a country with a rich history and culture as well as a modern and diverse population. It has made great strides in healthcare and wellness, and it is now considered one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of healthcare services.

The UAE offers many options for international expats who want to ensure that their healthcare needs are met. Here are a few things to remember about the healthcare system in this country known for its high standard of living.

The UAE's healthcare is world-class

The UAE has a top-tier healthcare system that is regularly ranked in the top 20 in the world. It offers more than just first-rate care—the country also has some of the best hospital facilities in the world.

First, there is an abundance of high-quality hospitals and medical facilities in Dubai. These include Al Zahra Hospital, Rashid Hospital, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, and more, all of which are renowned for their superior care.

Second, doctors in Dubai have extensive training and experience—many have been trained internationally and have worked with some of the most prestigious hospitals in their respective countries before coming to the UAE.

Third, many physicians speak multiple languages, including English, Arabic, French, and German, making it easier for patients to communicate with them effectively.

Fourthly, there are many different types of treatment options available, such as traditional medicine like acupuncture or homoeopathy, alongside modern surgical procedures, such as hip replacements or knee surgeries, without having to travel abroad.

Public vs. private healthcare in the UAE

According to the Federal Statistics and Competitive Authority, the UAE has more than 40 hospitals and over 8,000 doctors in the public sector. In the private sector, there are nearly 100 hospitals and 14,000 doctors.

If you're working in the UAE, you'll notice that public health care is available to all citizens and expats. However, even though it's free for citizens, it can be quite expensive for expats.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention is responsible for providing healthcare services in the UAE. In the emirate of Abu Dhabi, this responsibility falls to the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi; in the emirate of Dubai, it's the Dubai Health Authority (DHA); and in the emirate of Sharjah, it's the Sharjah Health Authority. The public health system has been modernised over time through the use of public-private partnerships that aim to improve the quality of care while reducing costs.

If you are an expatriate living in Dubai and your employer or your spouse's employer does not offer health insurance coverage to you and your family, you must apply for a health card. It offers basic medical care, just like what Emirati nationals get through public healthcare.

The application form is available from Rashid, Latifa or Dubai hospitals, and you'll need to provide a valid residence visa along with other necessary documents. Here are the fees for the health card:

  • 0–9 years 100 AED (27 USD)

  • 10–17 years 200 AED (54 USD)

  • 18 years+ 300 AED (82 USD)

Medical tourism in the UAE

Medical tourism is a growing industry in the United Arab Emirates, and it's not hard to see why. With some of the highest quality medical treatment available for the price, coupled with the convenience of being able to stay in a luxurious hotel during your treatment, it's easy to see why so many people are choosing the UAE as their destination for medical care.

In 2020, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi signed a memorandum of understanding with the Medical Tourism Association. The two organisations will partner to promote Abu Dhabi as a medical tourist destination in markets such as Russia, China, and the GCC. The focus is on cardiology, oncology, and executive screenings, with the aim of becoming the region’s leading medical tourist destination.

The UAE offers a wide range of treatments, including cosmetic surgery, dental care, fertility treatment, and more. Patients can even choose from any number of luxury hotels where they can stay while they receive treatment at one of the many hospitals or medical centres throughout the country.

The cost of living in the UAE is also relatively low compared to other countries with similar standards of living. This makes it easier to save money while travelling there.

The need for health insurance when moving to the UAE

The UAE requires expatriates to have health insurance to live and work there. The type of policy depends on the salary and position of the employee, among other factors.

Health insurance is usually provided by employers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In other emirates, it depends on the company's decision whether they will offer this benefit.

The extent of coverage and type of policy depends on the employee's salary and position, among other things. Note that in Abu Dhabi, this insurance will cover your dependants (spouse and up to 3 children under 18 years of age), whereas in Dubai, these same dependents will not be covered. Finally, this insurance is only valid within your emirate of residence and in certain establishments only

Useful information:

  • To find a health provider in the UAE, visit the UAE government portal.

  • To call an ambulance, dial 999 or call the number provided by your health insurance provider to speak to an English-speaking operator.

Insurance for Expatriates in the UAE

MyHEALTH offers you the best of both worlds in the UAE—the great benefits of an international medical insurance plan with a local insurance company's easily accessible customer service and direct billing network.

When it comes to your health, we want you to have the best possible coverage. With our range of plans, each has a different level of coverage, so you can create the perfect plan for you and your family.

Whether you just need to cover yourself or need to ensure your family as well, you can build a plan that suits your personal situation. In addition to our inpatient plan, which includes coverage for major treatments such as surgeries, hospitalisations or cancer treatments for instance, you can also add outpatient, maternity, and dental & optical benefits modules and choose one of three levels of coverage for each module. 

MyHEALTH offers you a flexible coverage option that will cover you in hospitals worldwide, not just in the UAE. Plus, if you ever move out of the UAE, your MyHEALTH plan may be portable and travel with you to your new home with no breaks in.