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Key Highlights of UAE’s health insurance sector

Category: Health Insurance Published on: 1 Mar 2022

Key Highlights of UAE’s health insurance sector

Despite the turbulence the pandemic brought to the economy, the UAE’s health insurance market has emerged resilient and is continuing to grow year on year. UAE healthcare facilities are among the finest in the world and several state-of-the-art clinics facilities have sprouted in the region to accommodate the growing medical needs. Quality healthcare workers from around the world provide top-notch care. Companies and residents need to be aware of the legal requirements governing health insurance in the UAE. Otherwise, they run the risk of incurring penalties laid by the authorities.

The insurance market in UAE is led by two compulsory insurance classes – health and motor. Health insurance in UAE is compulsory across Dubai and Abu Dhabi and the later throughout UAE. In this article we brief you on important highlights of medical insurance in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and rest of UAE.

Regulatory Authority
Health care sector is governed by regulators of the respective Emirates – The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and The Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD). Each authority has laid its own regulatory regime which every insurer and insurance companies must follow when dealing with health insurance in the region.


– Dubai Health Insurance Law 11 (2013) requires residents to own a minimum health insurance with basic coverage that meets benefits stipulated by DHA.

– In Dubai, the onus to cover employees under company medical insurance is on the employers and the cost must be 100% borne by them. They are strictly prohibited from passing the cost back to employees by deducting premiums or reducing salaries.

– Employers are not legally obliged to provide insurance for the employees’ dependents and the responsibility vests with their visa sponsor. However, employers can extend company health insurance to families out of their wish.

– All dependents of the employee (spouse/ children) and domestic workers (maids/ drivers) must have minimum health insurance cover under the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP.)

– EBP is a mandatory health insurance plan for those earning less than AED 4,000 and for dependents. The purpose of EBP basic plan is to ensure everyone has access to quality medical benefits in case of emergencies. Available at a reasonable cost of AED 650-750 per year it provides insurance coverage upto AED 150,000 per year. It entails a minimum co-pay percentage for each service.

Abu Dhabi

– Under basic health insurance regulated by HAAD, there are two plans, (i) Thiqa Plan for Emiratis only (ii) Abu Dhabi Basic Plan offered to expatriates alongside visa issuance.

– In Abu Dhabi, employers are legally obligated to provide medical insurance cover for employees and their family (spouse and up to 3 children under the age of 18). The cost of insurance for other dependents, such as parents or a 4th child are to be fully borne by their sponsor.

– Under the recent modifications to the basic plan, workers over the age of 40 are required to pay 50% of the cost for their dependents, with remaining 50% borne by the employers. However, the co-payment percentage is flexible as agreed by both parties.

– The basic coverage is at an annual premium of AED 950 for expatriate employees between the ages 18-40, AED 1,450 for 41-59 and AED 5,800 for those aged 60 and above. For married females aged 18 – 50, there is an additional maternity surcharge of AED 750.

Other Emirates

– In neighboring states (Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al Quwain, Sharjah and Fujairah) The Ministry of Health (MoH) oversees healthcare regulations. Here the law doesn’t oblige employers to provide medical insurance to employees or their dependents.

– In Sharjah, only government employees and their dependents are provided with group medical insurance cover. Thanks to the Ruler of Sharjah for announcing an insurance cover in 2014 for its government employees and their families although it’s not compulsory for expatriates

Repercussions and Fines

– In Dubai and Abu Dhabi, mandatory health insurance is linked to the online visa system. Hence, no applications from residents will be entertained who don’t possess basic insurance cover.

– DHA imposes fines on sponsors and employers who fail to comply with regulations. Fines of AED 500 will be issued for each month of non-compliance, no new visas will be granted, and existing visas will not be renewed. Fines are to be paid during the renewal or cancellation of visas.

– Failure by employers to provide insurance attracts fines between AED 500 – 150,000. Repeated breaches carry a maximum fine of AED 500,000.

To know more about UAE health insurance for families, log onto or

Before zeroing on any insurance plan, we recommended you compare different policies from various insurance intermediaries to weigh the cost vs benefits. For more information on health insurance options or cheapest health insurance for family get in touch with our insurance advisors for clarity on coverage, co-payment options and claim process.

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