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What Happens if You Don’t Have Medical Insurance In Dubai?

Expats and their dependents who don’t have medical insurance in Dubai may face fines, outrageous medical costs, visa renewal issues, and even deportation. It is critical that every resident of Dubai complies with Health Insurance Law No. 11 and secures healthcare coverage.

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Are you an expat who doesn’t know what happens if you don’t have medical insurance in Dubai? Are you wanting to move there, but you’re unsure what insurance expectations the country has?

Pacific Prime, a global insurance broker with over 1 million clients insured, is here to answer your questions!

This article will explain what the Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 is, what medical insurance it requires all Dubai residents to get, and what happens if expats fail to purchase medical insurance.

When you’re ready to learn about the top insurance companies that offer coverage in Dubai, we encourage you to use our free quote generator.

This is an invaluable resource that allows you to compare quotes from a number of insurance companies side-by-side. Most insurance companies can’t provide you with that sort of a tool! Take advantage of it today!

Dubai Insurance: What Happens If Expats Don’t Have It

If expats don’t have medical insurance in Dubai, they may face serious fines, legal complications, and possible deportation. This is because in 2013, the Dubai government passed a health insurance law that requires all Dubai residents, including expats and their dependents, to have medical coverage.

Dubai Marina, UAE - The Address

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is the authority organization that provides a quality healthcare system in Dubai and ensures its policies and strategies are implemented.

The Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 has helped decrease healthcare costs in Dubai, and it protects the Emirate from incurring substantial medical debt. If you are an expat or digital nomad who wants to live in Dubai, you will be expected to comply with this law.

The Required Medical Insurance Benefits in Dubai

The minimum coverage benefits that every compliant medical insurance plan in Dubai must meet are:

  1. An annual upper aggregate claims limit of at least AED 150,000 (about USD $40,800)
  2. Emergency medical treatment 
  3. Inpatient care
  4. Outpatient care
  5. Maternity services, including inpatient, outpatient, and newborn care

Go to Appendix A on page 11 of the Dubai Health Authority’s brochure Employer’s Information Pack to see the full details of the mandatory medical insurance in Dubai.

If you do not comply with this law and choose not to get medical insurance, you run the risk of acquiring:

  1. Financial Fines
  2. Legal Complications
  3. Visa Renewal Issues
  4. Limited Medical Care Access
  5. Higher Medical Costs
  6. Negative Impact on Dependents: fines and poor healthcare
  7. Employer Penalties
  8. Damaged Reputation
  9. Deportation

Financial Fines in Dubai

Expats, residents, and employers of Dubai who fail to comply with the Dubai Health Insurance Law may be fined no less than AED 500 (about USD $136) and no more than AED 150,000 (about USD $40,838). The amount violators are fined can be doubled if they commit the same violation within one year.

The doubling of your fine cannot exceed AED 500,000 (about USD $136,128), however. 

In addition to penalizing violators with fines, the Dubai Health Authority can also implement the following measures against violators of the law:

  1. Give them a warning
  2. Suspend them from practicing activities related to health insurance in the Emirate for up to 2 years (though not more than it)
  3. Cancel their license

To read more about the fine penalties for not having medical insurance in Dubai, read Article 23 on page 12 of the Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013.

Dubai Legal Complications

Expats who don’t have health insurance in Dubai may face legal complications, such as being sued by a healthcare provider if they have failed to pay your medical bills. Expats will also be responsible to pay the medical expenses of their uninsured dependents, which can become highly costly.

Burj Khalifa Fountains, Dubai

Visa Renewal Issues In Dubai

Visas can only be issued and renewed for Dubai expats who provide evidence that they are in compliance with the medical insurance law. For an employment visa, you will need to demonstrate that your employer is providing you with sufficient medical coverage.

If you fail to meet this law, you will not be able to renew your visa. It is also possible your current visa may be canceled and you will need to leave Dubai.

To read more about this, go to point 3.6 on page 4 and point 4.1 on page 5 of the Dubai Health Authority’s brochure Employer’s Information Pack.

Limited Medical Care Access In Dubai

Digital nomads and expats living in Dubai may have limited medical care access because most medical providers require proof of health insurance before they will provide care. If you aren’t able to show proof of medical insurance, you will have a difficult time finding a physician who will treat you.

If you don’t have care because you can’t afford it, look into getting coverage through the Essential Benefits Plan.

Read more about this at point 3.1.1 and 3.1.2. and 3.2 on page 3, as well 6.1 on page 7, of the Dubai Health Authority’s brochure Employer’s Information Pack.

Higher Medical Costs

Dubai residents and nationals, including expats, run the risk of incurring high medical costs if they don’t get health insurance. According to Pacific Prime’s 2023 International Health Insurance Report, individual premiums around the world rose by an average of 12% in 2022.

Premiums for family plans increased by an average of 14% in 2022. Healthcare costs a lot, especially with medical inflation that plagues the entire world. Having health insurance is critical when it comes to protecting yourself against rising medical fees that can break the budget.

If you violate the law by not having health insurance, you will be responsible for paying out-of-pocket all medical fees for the services you or your uninsured dependents have received. This is stated in Article 18 on page 11 of the Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11.

Negative Impact on Dependents

If expat dependents residing in Dubai are not insured, their sponsor can be fined no less than AED 500 (about USD $136) and no more than AED 150,000 (about USD $40,838). This fine can be doubled. These are the same fines as those given to uninsured individuals. See above for more details.

Even if employed expats are insured through their employer, if their employer chooses not to provide coverage for their dependents, the employed expat, as the dependent’s legal sponsor for residing in Dubai, is required to provide coverage for them.

A fine and a warning can be given to violators.

In addition to this, expats who don’t insure their dependents decrease their dependent’s likelihood of getting the healthcare they need. This is due to the increased cost of paying out-of-pocket and the reality that many medical providers won’t treat you if you’re uninsured. 

Read Limited Medical Care Access above.

Employer Penalties

Employers in Dubai who fail to provide their employees with the minimum required healthcare coverage can incur fines of up to AED 150,000 (about USD $40,838) (see above). They may also be given a warning, be suspended from practicing anything related to health insurance, and lose their license

The Dubai Health Authority has the responsibility to take necessary procedures against any employer who refuses to comply with the law. 

Damaged Reputation

Expats who fail to comply with the mandatory health insurance law in Dubai will damage their individual and business (if applicable) reputation. Your illegal activity will appear as irresponsible, negligent, and unreliable.

Deportation from the UAE

Expats may be deported from Dubai in extreme situations. You may be deported because you have violated a local law, and you will no longer be able to renew your visa. Without a legal visa, you cannot remain within the country. Other deportation reasons are judicial and administrative.

Foreign expats who have been deported cannot reenter the United Arab Emirates unless granted permission by the director general of the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a fine in Dubai for not having health insurance?

Fines in Dubai can be as little as AED 500 (about USD $136) and as much as AED 150,000 (about USD $40,838) for not having health insurance. This is because Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 requires all Dubai residents and nationals to have a minimum health insurance plan.

Can I be deported from Dubai if I don’t have health insurance?

Foreigners and expats can be deported from Dubai if they don’t have health insurance in accordance with the local law, though usually only in extreme cases. Dubai’s deportation law states that if a foreigner commits a felony or other misdemeanor, they can be court-ordered to leave the country.

What happens if I don’t have travel insurance in Dubai?

There is no law requiring travel insurance for tourists who enter Dubai, though it is always encouraged to get coverage so your belongings and flights are covered, as well as emergency medical bills in the event you get a serious illness or injury abroad.

How much health insurance do I need in Dubai?

The Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 requires all residents and expats in Dubai to have at least a total annual coverage of AED 150,000 (about USD $40,800). Minimum requirements also include emergency medical treatment, inpatient and outpatient care, and maternity services.

Conclusion

Expats who don’t have medical insurance in Dubai may face costly fines, the inability to renew their residency or employment visa, employer penalties, limited access to medical care, and possible deportation.

To protect yourself, Pacific Prime highly encourages you to follow the law and get insurance coverage. Contact us today to get a quote from the top reputable insurers in Dubai and to have all of your insurance questions answered by Dubai experts.

You will also want to learn how foreigners can get health insurance in Dubai and what insurance expats need in Dubai.

We highly recommend this 2023 Guide to Mandatory Health Insurance in Dubai.

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