Average Cost of Expat Health Insurance and Healthcare in the UAE in 2021

Average Cost of Expat Health Insurance and Healthcare in the UAE in 2021 – that will be the topic of today’s article.

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Are you excited to move to the UAE? Perhaps you can’t wait to tour the attraction sites and throw the “peace” sign in every picture you click?. However, as thrilled as you are about trying Arabian food, you have no idea the average cost of expat health insurance and healthcare in the UAE? This article has got you covered.

Average Cost of Expat Health Insurance and Healthcare in the UAE in 2021

Aside from being a getaway destination to the two biggest expatriate cities, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, home to the world’s largest skyscraper, “The Burj Khalifa,” and the luxurious malls; The UAE holds one of the best healthcare systems worldwide.

Being an expat in the UAE or planning to move to the UAE, obtaining health insurance for quality healthcare and service is currently a legal requirement, especially for long-term visas. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UAE has gotten more strict with its healthcare system.

Regardless of which of the seven emirates you might want to settle in, being familiar with the average cost of expat health insurance and healthcare in the UAE makes your stay peaceful. In this article, we’ll cover every detail you’d need to know about UAE’s health system in 2021.

Keep in mind that the UAE has zero-tolerance towards some drugs, like sleeping pills, antidepressants, or tranquilizers, thus as an expat with a drug prescription; do your research on the tolerance level of your drug to avoid it being banned. Without further ado, grab your keffiyehs; let’s dive into being Arab.

Understanding the Health Insurance and Healthcare System in the UAE

Before we dive into the cost of expat health insurance and healthcare in the UAE, it’s crucial to understand how the health system works in the country as of 2021. The healthcare system in the UAE is a combination of public and private sectors, with the public sector currently available to expats.

The health insurance law in Dubai and Abu Dhabi necessitates the employer obtaining insurance for expat employee and their families. In other emirates like Sharjah and Ajman, the government provides insurance coverage to its employees.

However, suppose you are an expat yet to be employed in the country. In that case, you’d have to obtain health insurance privately, which can be costly as the average cost of health insurance in the UAE is 4,772-10,000 AED annually. Later on in this article, we’ll outline the further cost of the health system in the UAE.

Average Cost of Expat Health Insurance and Healthcare in the UAE in 2021

Why Expatriate Health Insurance is Necessary in the UAE

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the UAE government taking proper health precautions for both nationals and foreigners,  thus causing a surge in the cost of health insurance. The UAE health insurance for expats is coverage for your health care fee while residing in the country.

The UAE government has made it mandatory for expats to obtain health insurance. Residing in the country without following the healthcare law results in being fined.

Obtaining health insurance in UAE offers you a health plan to personalize according to your preference; you also get to have a private consultation and treatment without waiting. The benefits of acquiring insurance are;

  • It covers the transport fee for ambulances.
  • The expatriate health insurance coverage includes the room in cases of hospitalization.
  • It covers check-ups and home treatment.

Other Medical Procedures and Treatment Covered by the Expatriate Health Insurance

  • Maternity care
  • Dental care
  • Medical test and consultation fee
  • Medication
  • Cancer, psychiatric, and transplant charges
  • Optical treatment

Medical Procedures and Treatment not Covered by the Expatriate Health Insurance

  • Cosmetic/plastic surgery
  • HIV/AIDS and other diseases of the same nature
  • Suicide/war/terrorism injuries

Expatriate Health Insurance Eligibility Criteria

Although every UAE citizen and expats are eligible for health insurance, few variations involve the insurance plan. For instance, a health care plan and insurance for families differs from a group health insurance plan or an older citizen insurance plan. Nonetheless, the mandatory criteria for health insurance eligibility include;

  • Applicant must reside in the UAE
  • Eligibility age is between 18-75
  • The medical insurance covers children from birth

Tourists are exempted from the health insurance law; however, medical treatments are not free prior to fall sick. As an expat, if you intend on having a housekeeper or a driver, your medical insurance coverage also extends to them.

Health Insurance for Unemployed/Low Earning Expats

Aside from offering one of the best attraction sites globally, the UAE devised a health insurance plan, Essential Benefits Plan, specifically for the unemployed or low earners. The health insurance covers those with an earning lower than 4,000 AED, including their families.

The average cost of the EBP medical insurance is between 500-650 AED per annum. The health insurance coverage includes; surgeries, ambulances, emergencies, medical tests, and prescribed medications.

The EBP health insurance also covers maternity care, including; antenatal care, ultrasound services, and deliveries, in addition to covering the healthcare of the newborn baby.

However, not all insurance companies are stipulated to offer the EBP health insurance; designated companies for the Essential Benefits Plan are;

  • Union insurance
  • Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company
  • Noor Takaful
  • Ras Al Khaimah National Insurance Company
  • Oman Insurance Company

If you intend to apply for the EBP health insurance plan, you can check out the companies mentioned above online and provide the necessary documentation.

Factors that Affect the Price of Health Insurance In UAE

Although there’s an average cost of health insurance in the UAE, certain factors cause a surge in the price. These factors include;


People who smoke are charged more price to obtain health insurance in the UAE than non-smokers; this is due to the applicant having other underlying health issues due to smoking.

Duration of the Health insurance

Applying for health insurance includes stating the duration of your stay; a longer stay in the country warrants a lower cost of health insurance while a shorter stay incurs a higher price rate.


The age factor plays an essential role in acquiring medical insurance; an older person pays more insurance fees than a younger person.

Pre-existing Medical History and Condition

Medical history and conditions incur a higher cost of health insurance; some health insurance policy covers some condition thus no need for an additional fee. However, some illness is not included in health insurance coverage which results in a pricey rate.


Body mass index incurs a high cost of health insurance as people with an increased body mass require more doctor consultation due to underlying health issues.


An individual’s occupation plays a role in the cost of health insurance, depending on the risk and health hazards surrounding the nature of the work. Although the employer pays the work insurance, it depends on the salary earned by the employee.

Types of Health Insurance Plans in UAE for Expats

The expat health insurance in the UAE is categorized into various plans, ranging from individual to family plans. Each of the health insurance plans varies in terms of costs; without further ado, we are going to list the major insurance plans for expats in addition to their costs.

1.    Individual Health Insurance Plan

The individual health insurance plan is specifically for single expats, and it provides coverage against every medical fee you might incur during your stay in the UAE. This insurance plan provides an extensive medical benefit for the single expat, in contrast to the regulated benefit set by the health insurance providers.

Benefits of the Individual Insurance Plan

Solo Insurance Plan

The individual insurance plan is designated for one person only, specifically the owner; thus, you can’t cover other people under your health insurance.

Saves Money

Having an individual insurance plan saves your finances as you don’t have to worry about paying every time there’s an emergency or a visit to the doctor. Thus, you can focus on cruising around the country and living your best life.

Discounts from Health Insurance Providers

Some health insurance providers for the individual plan offer low prices to obtain health insurance; hence if you fall within the lucky insured, you won’t have to empty your wallet.

Wide Medical Coverage

Individual medical insurance covers every medical expense, down to hospitalization; thus, you don’t have to pay from your pocket anytime you are hospitalized.

Things to Know Before Choosing an Individual Insurance Plan

Pay Attention to the Coverage Included in Your Insurance Plan

While applying for your insurance plan, stay versed with the coverage included in your health insurance plan, what medical procedures it includes and excludes. You can also search for free medical coverage, as some providers include free check-ups to insurance plans, which saves you money.

Select a Hospital Close to You

When applying for the individual insurance plan, it is crucial to select a hospital close to you and include them in your plan. Being treated in hospitals that are not included in your insurance plan will incur expenses from your wallet.

Stay Conscious Of The Insurance Waiting Period

The health insurance plan in the UAE includes a waiting duration before allotting coverage to your medical fees. Thus, stay aware of the waiting time, including when the coverage starts. You can obtain this information by asking your designated insurance provider.

2.    Family Health Insurance Plan

As an expat residing in the UAE, if you have a family or plan on having one, this plan is ideal and provides your family with seamless hospital care. Some family health insurance plan also covers the extended family with good discount proffered by some insurance providers.

Benefit of the Family Health Plan

Financial Management

The family health insurance plan provides your family with quality hospital care and saves you time and money. Due to the full coverage and family members, you wouldn’t have to spend money from your pocket every time a family member gets sick.

Seamless Treatment

Although the UAE medical cost is expensive, they never fail in delivering quality treatment to both nationals and residents. Having an insurance plan for your family incurs top-notch care in quality facilities regardless of the expenses.


Some health insurance providers offer low insurance rates with maximum beneficial coverage, especially to families; hence you can do your research on insurance providers with discount rates for your family insurance plan.

Things to Know Before Choosing a Family Health Insurance Plan

Be Aware of your Family’s Medical History/ Conditions

Keep in mind pre-existing medical conditions or history, including the age of each family member, to choose the proper plan that covers all medical fees.

Renewable Health Insurance Plan

Suppose you decide to include the extended family in your insurance plan. In that case, it’s best to choose a family health insurance plan that offers renewability to cover expenses even when you grow old.

Select a Hospital Close to You

Treatment in a hospital that isn’t amongst your network of hospitals in the insurance plan leads to extra expenses. Although this fee is later reimbursed to your insurance, it’s best to select insurance providers with a high network of hospitals.

3.    Group Insurance Plan

This insurance plan provides extensive medical coverage to expat employees of a company, protecting them from high medical costs. This plan requires zero paperwork and covers new employees as well. The group insurance plan has ranging coverage and prices that the employer will select.

Benefits of Group Insurance Plan

Less Insurance Fee

A group insurance plan is less expensive compared to an individual plan as it involves a wider coverage with a larger amount of members, some with pre-existing health conditions.

Covers Family Members

The group insurance plan isn’t limited to employees only; the insurance plan also extends comprehensive coverage to family members of the employees.

Zero Waiting Duration

Compared to the individual health insurance plan, the group insurance plan requires no waiting duration before coverage of medical expenses is allotted. Rather, full coverage begins the moment a person is employed and insured.

Things to Know About Group Insurance Plan

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  • The company must have a registered license under the country
  • The employees must be within the minimum number required by the insurance provider
  • The employees must be on the list of payroll in the company
  • The employees must own a valid visa
  • Only children and spouses are covered within the insurance plan

4.    Travelers Health Insurance Plan

This insurance plan applies to individuals who don’t reside permanently in the country but rather visit the country frequently. The plan allows you to visit the hospitals anytime without having to pay from your pocket, which also extends to family members or groups of travelers.

Benefits of Travelers Health Insurance Plan

  • You can choose a network of hospitals that suit any medical needs you have
  • Covers for emergency evacuation to expats country
  • You can tailor the insurance plan in case of additional coverage

Things to Know Before Choosing Traveler Insurance Plan

  • You cannot use the insurance plan from another country nor refundable
  • The insurance plan will be terminated if you are banned from the country
  • A valid visa of the country is essential
  • Pre-existing health conditions are not included in the insurance plan

5.    Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plan                         

Adding expat elderly family members to your insurance plan can make the cost weigh heavily on you, as they’ll be increased coverage of other medical procedures. Thus, the UAE health insurance providers introduced the senior citizen insurance plan for the elderly aged 60 and above.

Benefit of Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plan

Coverage for Pre-existing Medical conditions

Compared to other health insurance plans, the senior citizen health insurance plan covers pre-existing medical conditions or history for the elderly, thus wrapping up the cost without having to pay from your pocket.

Provides Lifetime Renewability

As the elderly get older, having health insurance will become increasingly important; however, this insurance plan has made it easy for sponsors of the senior citizen to seek the renewability of the health insurance annually.

Zero Cash Hospitalization Payment

This insurance plan offers cashless pre & post-hospitalization within the network of hospitals chosen within your insurance plan. Treatments outside your designated network of hospitals incur payment on the spot; however, the expenses are later reimbursed to the insurance plan.

Full-time Coverage for Heart Diseases and Check-ups

A perk of the senior citizen health insurance plan is it covers diseases like stroke or heart attacks, including yearly check-ups and doctor visits.

Things to Know Before Choosing Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plan

Keep in Mind the Medical History of the Elderly

Although the health insurance plan for the elderly covers pre-existing medical conditions, ignoring it as a general rule isn’t advisable. Rather, be aware of it before choosing a plan for proper coverage of the medical expenses.

Submit Accurate Details

A misinformed detail of the insured can lead to the wrong reimbursement of medical expenses, thus to avoid wasting the money paid for the insurance plan, provide the accurate details of the elderly to the insurance provider.

Re-check the Insurance Plant

Before choosing an insurance plan, properly go through every plan and coverage to select the one that meets your medical requirement. Also, re-check the cost of the health insurance plan to make sure it tallies with the coverage.

Average Cost of Expat Health insurance Plan in the UAE

The cost of an expat health insurance plan depends on the insurance provider company and plan you choose. Some insurance provider companies charge less while others charge higher with occasional discounts. However, we’ve tallied the average cost of each expatriate health insurance plan in the UAE in 2021.

Health Insurance PlanAverage Cost
Individual Health Insurance Plan5,000-10,000 AED
Family Health Insurance Plan17,000-33,000 AED
Group Health Insurance Plan1,500-5000 AED per employee
Traveler’s Health Insurance Plan800-2000 AED
Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plan4000-20,000 AED

Types of Expat Healthcare in the UAE 2021

UAE’s Ministry of Health and prevention is liable for all healthcare services, offering both private and public health services. Although both healthcare services are provided for both nationals and expats, healthcare is more expensive for expats. Nonetheless, when it comes to providing world-class health services, the UAE tops the chart. Let’s dive into the two types of expat healthcare in the UAE.

Private Healthcare

This is the designated healthcare service for expats; although expensive, private healthcare has more medical facilities and health providers than the public sector. Expats who plan to use the private healthcare sector must get a private health insurance plan as this is crucial to getting a residence visa before entry into the country in some emirates.

Nevertheless, the private healthcare sector has some medical exclusions compared to the public sector, such as; complex trauma or emergencies and specific pathological conditions; these health exceptions are handled better in the public healthcare sector. Private healthcare cost without insurance depends on the hospital visited and medical procedure, the average cost of a visit to the doctor, falls within 208-500 AED.

Some private healthcare facilities in the UAE include; Emirates Hospital Dubai, Burjeel hospital Abu Dhabi, Burjeel Royal hospital Al Ain, and Ras Al Khaimah Hospital.

Public Healthcare

Public healthcare is designated for the UAE nationals, as they are offered free medical care; however, the freebie does not apply to expats, and a health card is required from expats before using the public healthcare services. Medical exceptions within the public healthcare sector include; vision aids, dental exams, and optical surgery.

Public healthcare provided top-notch medical services and is overseen by the MOHAP and Dubai Health Authority. Acquiring public health care is vital even if you have insurance, as the health card may cover some expenses excluded from your insurance. Public healthcare facilities in the UAE include; Al Rahba Hospital, Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, and Al Ain Hospital.

The necessary documentation needed to obtain a health card is;

  • A copy of your visa application
  • A filled health card application form
  • A copy of your passport
  • Two passport photographs
  • Coverage letter from a sponsor

Average Cost of Expat Health Card in the UAE

Age GroupPrice
Age 0-9100 AED
Age 10-17200 AED
18 and above300 AED

Documentation Necessary to Register for Expat Healthcare in the UAE

  • A white background passport photograph
  • Photocopy of a Valid passport
  • A residence visa
  • A copy of your Emirate ID card


Healthcare is one of the essentials of life, and health insurance takes medical expenses off your budget list. This expat guide of the average cost of health insurance and healthcare in the UAE in 2021 helps put your travel budget in order before moving to the country. Although the UAE is expensive, but you get quality services based on what you paid.

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