Finding the best health insurance for dependents in Dubai
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Finding the best health insurance for dependents in Dubai

Unlike other popular expat destinations, it is fairly common to see whole families moving to Dubai. One important thing to be aware of is the fact that health insurance is mandatory in the city. If you are moving here with your family, there is a good chance you will need to secure health insurance coverage for them. Here, we provide answers to the top six questions our advisors get that can help you secure the best health insurance for your dependents.  

Woman with kids to convey finding health insurance for dependents

1. Who do I need to secure health insurance for in Dubai?

As mentioned above, it is mandatory in Dubai for all residents to secure health insurance that meets the requirements set out by the Dubai Health Authority. In other words, if you are going to be living in the Emirate, you will need health insurance.

The issue here is that those employed will have their health insurance provided by their employer but there is no law in place stating that dependents must also be covered by your company.

It would, therefore, be a good idea to discuss with your company about who will be covered by your plan, as it is still fairly common for companies hiring expats to offer health insurance coverage for your spouse and possibly children.

If you are the only person your company will cover then you will need to secure coverage for your dependents, which according to the Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai (ISAHD) includes "your spouse and dependent children who are on your sponsorship."

It is also important to note here that while not dependents, people you hire such as domestic helpers, drivers, etc. will also need to be provided health insurance coverage.

2. What are the coverage options available to my dependents?

There are a wide variety of health insurance coverage plans available to purchase and it really is up to you as to what level of coverage you opt to purchase. The key thing to be aware of however is that any coverage secured must meet basic requirements, as we have discussed in previous articles.

Taking this into account, you will find that all health insurance plans sold in Dubai can be divided into three different types:

  • Basic coverage - Plans meet basic coverage requirements set by the Dubai Health Authority (referred to as Essential Benefits Plan) and will rarely offer higher levels of coverage.
  • Local coverage - Plans will meet basic coverage requirements but will offer extended coverage usually with higher benefit limits for certain types of care e.g., inpatient or outpatient. Coverage will usually be limited to UAE only.
  • International coverage - Plans that are designed to not only meet basic coverage requirements but also have limits high enough to cover care in almost every country.

It is important to note here that while there are different plans with differing coverage levels and locations, all plans must be sold in Dubai by qualified insurers, in order for them to meet the coverage requirements set by the government.

For example, if you are an expat who already has international coverage for your dependents and are moving to Dubai, your plan will not meet the requirements meaning you will need to secure additional coverage from an insurer in Dubai.

3. How much does health insurance for dependents cost in Dubai?

This is actually a fairly hard question to answer as there are a number of different factors that need to be taken into account when determining the cost of health insurance.

When looking at basic plans, the ISAHD home page has a table with the most recent rates charged by the approved insurers in Dubai for their Essential Benefit Plans.  

If you are looking at international coverage, a great starting resource would be our partner company's Cost of Health Insurance report. The report includes the average cost of health insurance in Dubai for a variety of demographics along with an in depth explanation behind the premiums charged.

For 2017, residents in Dubai looking to secure an international plan can expect to pay an average of USD 8,959. View the Middle East section of the report to learn more about the average cost for individuals, couples, families, and retirees.

4. Do all dependents need to be on the same plan?

There is no set rule in place stating that all dependents have to be on the same plan. That said, many insurers will require children to be covered under their parent's plan or that the whole family sign up for coverage. This will vary based on the insurer, so it is important to review your options when looking for plans for your dependents.

Beyond that, if you have employees e.g., helpers, gardeners, etc. you will likely be required to secure each an individual plan.

5. When should I secure coverage?

This is an important thing to be aware of largely because the DHA has stipulated that insurance must be in place before a visa will be issued or renewed. Therefore, it would be beneficial to secure insurance before your dependents come to Dubai so as to ensure an as delay-free visa process as possible.

6. How do I identify the best plan for my dependents?

With the wealth of coverage options and plans available in Dubai, finding the best plan that not only meets your dependent's coverage needs but also your budget can be time-consuming. One of the best ways to avoid this is by working with a broker like UAE Medical Insurance.

Our team of advisors know the market and work with you to help identify your options and can help identify a plan that works not only now, but also in the future. If you are looking to secure coverage for your dependents, please feel free to contact an advisor today.


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Registered Office: PO Box 391195, Dubai, UAE