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Is Health Insurance Free In Dubai For Expats?

Health insurance is not free for expats in Dubai. Public healthcare services can be offered at a lower cost for expats if they have a health card that grants them access to public healthcare facilities. Expats can also choose to purchase private health insurance that has more comprehensive benefits.

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Are you an expat wondering if health insurance will be free for you in Dubai? Pacific Prime is going to answer that for you today. We’ll also introduce your options as an expat to get public health insurance or private health insurance, as well as who the top Dubai insurance providers are.

If you go to our webpage about health insurance in Dubai for expats, you can read our comprehensive article about all things health insurance in Dubai.

You may also be curious to know if Dubai’s healthcare system is free or not, and you can read our blog post about it to find out.

If you’re ready to find out how much health insurance costs in Dubai, use our free quote generator to get a number of estimates from a number of insurance companies at once.

Health Insurance Is Not Free In Dubai For Expats

Health insurance will not be free for expats moving to Dubai. Expats may have access to public health insurance at a lower cost if they are employed in Dubai, but health care is only free for emirate citizens. Private health insurance is another option for expats through private insurance providers.

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Expats living in the UAE are required to have health insurance, so it is important they determine if they qualify for public health insurance or if they should purchase a private health insurance policy. The Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 is the law that created this mandate.

What does this mean for expats? It means that they will not be able to become a Dubai resident until they show proof that they have met the minimum health insurance requirements.

Health Insurance in Dubai for Expat Employees

Expats who are employed in Dubai should receive health insurance coverage from their employer. Dubai employers are only responsible for providing coverage for their employees, however. So if you have dependents, such as a spouse or children, you must purchase health insurance for them.

If you are an expat who is employed in Abu Dhabi, you should receive health insurance coverage from your employer. By law, employers in Abu Dhabi are responsible for providing coverage to all of their employees, their spouses, and up to 3 children and dependents under the age of 18.

If you have more than 3 children, you are responsible for purchasing or signing up for health insurance coverage for all additional children.

Public Health Insurance in Dubai for Expats

Expats may have access to public health insurance as provided by their employer’s coverage plan. Public insurance offers coverage for hospitalization, emergencies, routine care, and maternity care. Dental and optical services are not covered by public health insurance.

If you are an expat who qualifies for public health insurance and deem it sufficient for your needs, we encourage learning about your dental health insurance options to make up for the lack of coverage in this field.

Essential Benefits Plan for Expats

Expats who cannot afford insurance for themselves or their dependents can use the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP). This is a UAE public healthcare plan that provides the same coverage as public health insurance, but it’s only available for people who make less than 4,000 AED (USD $1,090) a month.

Learn more about the Essential Benefits Plan here.

Private Health Insurance in Dubai for Expats

Expats in Dubai who are not employed and don’t get public health insurance, and those who need to purchase insurance for their dependents, can get private health insurance. Coverage is available both through local insurance companies and international insurance companies.

Every member of your family must have health insurance, or you cannot receive a UAE residency visa.

Many Dubai expats have found that purchasing a private health insurance plan helps them meet this requirement. It also grants them access to get healthcare in a private hospital where it is more likely to be treated by medical professionals who speak their native language.

Private health insurance offers coverage for:

  • Inpatient treatments
  • Outpatient treatments
  • Emergency care
  • Evacuation and repatriation
  • Optional add-ons, such as dental, vision, and maternity care

Private Health Insurance Options In Dubai For Expats

Expats in Dubai and the UAE can get private health insurance from the top insurance providers. Pacific Prime partners with each of them, and as an insurance broker who is loyal to our clients and not an insurance company, we give you unbiased advice as you pick the provider that’s right for you.

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Please reach out to Pacific Prime as you think of questions about your insurance needs, and we are happy to help direct you.

Below are some of the best Dubai and UAE health insurance providers:

  • Aetna is a Fortune 100 company in the United States and offers expats comprehensive quality healthcare coverage in Dubai and the UAE.
  • Cigna Global provides flexible insurance plans to expats in the UAE with 24/7 access to a customer care team.
  • William Russell offers insurance plans that are globally portable across countries, so expats can travel while protected.
  • Allianz offers comprehensive insurance plans in the UAE to cater to all expats’ needs. Riders are available to be purchased and attached to any basic policy that Allianz approves.
  • April International has over 30 years of experience in the international health insurance market and provides both comprehensive and flexible plans to expats while in the UAE.
  • Bupa Global offers expats tailor-made plans and guaranteed lifetime renewal. They provide high-quality service with a personal relationship manager available for their members.
  • MSH has almost 50 years of experience in providing health insurance for expats and their families. With features like online claim reimbursement and medical teleconsultations, they are dedicated to their members’ support and wellness.
  • AXA Insurance UAE was recently acquired by GIG Gulf, one of the largest insurers in the Middle East. They offer expats in the UAE different plans with varying levels of coverage and customizable additional benefits. 
  • NOW Health International offers expats abroad comprehensive health insurance solutions, as well as providing plans for international students.

To discover estimated premium costs for Dubai health insurance plans offered by each of these providers, use our free insurance quote generator.

It is a unique tool not found on most insurance company websites that allows you to compare policies from a number of companies side by side. You are also able to save your favorite quotes and come back to them later if you create a free account that doesn’t require you to commit to anything.

Get free quotes now and watch this tutorial to learn all the features the generator offers you!

Common Diseases In Dubai Expats Should Know About

Expats going to Dubai should know that they are entering a part of the world that is at higher risk for catching Rabies, Typhoid Fever, Hepatitis A, and MERS-CoV. Knowing about these diseases and how to protect yourself against them is essential for all travelers going to the UAE.

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Learn a little more about these diseases expats may be exposed to when in Dubai:

  • Rabies – Dubai and the United Arab Emirates are considered high-risk for dog rabies. You will be more likely to encounter a rabid dog if you are a camper, adventure traveler, cave explorer, veterinarian, or visitor to a rural area.

Learn how to protect yourself against Rabies in Dubai.

  • Typhoid fever – Typhoid fever is most often spread in countries in the Middle East and it can be spread from person to person. It can give you a fever, nausea, headache, and aches and pains.

Learn how to protect yourself against Typhoid Fever in Dubai.

  • Hepatitis A – The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated for Hepatitis A if you are traveling to the United Arab Emirates. This virus is spread through close contact with food and water contaminated by someone who has the virus.

Learn how to protect yourself against Hepatitis A in Dubai.

  • MERS-CoV or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus – Traveling to the UAE puts you at higher risk of catching MERS-CoV. There are no vaccines for this disease at this time.

Learn how to protect yourself against MERS-CoV in Dubai.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a health insurance plan in Dubai?

The average health insurance plan in Dubai can cost around USD $5,269 (AED 19,353) for an individual and about USD $14,585 (AED 53,571) for a family. These averages come from Pacific Prime’s 2021-2022 annual report on worldwide health insurance patterns.

Can expats get health insurance in Dubai?

Expats can get health insurance in Dubai. In fact, they are required to have health insurance to become a resident and obtain a residency visa. Many expats prefer to purchase a private health insurance plan to guarantee all family members and dependents receive optimum coverage.

Is health insurance affordable in Dubai?

Health insurance is more affordable in Dubai than it is in the United States. The average health insurance plan in Dubai is only about USD $5,269, while the average cost in the US is USD $7,431. However, health insurance is even more affordable in Thailand than in Dubai, as the average is USD $2,035.

Do I have to get health insurance to move to Dubai?

Expats, digital nomads, students, and all other residents of Dubai are required to get health insurance. The Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 made this mandatory, so you will not be able to get a residency visa without proof of your health coverage plan.

Are the hospitals any good in Dubai?

Dubai hospitals and healthcare facilities are state-of-the-art, and even some boast of luxury. With an evolving private healthcare sector, Dubai offers top-quality treatments from highly competent physicians and personnel. There is even a rise in medical tourism entering Dubai for medical treatment.


Even though health insurance isn’t free for expats in Dubai, there are several affordable options that can meet your healthcare needs.

Public insurance is there for employees in Dubai; the Essential Benefits Plan is for families with low income, and private health insurance is there to cover dependents and provide a more comprehensive benefits package for everyone covered.

If you’re not sure what insurance you need in Dubai, read this article. If you’re ready to get a free quote, you can contact Pacific Prime, or visit our insurance quote generator.

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Serena Fung is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, a global insurance brokerage and employee specialist serving over 1.5 million clients in 15 offices across the world. With 2+ years of experience writing about the subject, she aims to demystify the world of insurance for readers with the latest updates, guides and articles on the blog.

Serena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As such, she is an avid advocate of mental health and is fascinated by all things psychology (especially if it’s cognitive psychology!).

Her previous work experience includes teaching toddlers to read, writing for a travel/wellness online magazine, and then a business news blog. These combined experiences give her the skills and insights she needs to explain complex ideas in a succinct way. Being the daughter of an immigrant and a traveler herself, she is passionate about educating expats and digital nomads on travel and international health insurance.
Serena Fung
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