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Health Insurance Law In The UAE | Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Other Emirates

health insurance law uae

The United Arab Emirates public healthcare services are overseen by several regulatory organisations, including the Ministry of Health, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi, the Dubai Health Authority, and the Emirates Health Authority. Only two of the seven emirates—Dubai and Abu Dhabi—require health insurance now. Leaders in the industry say that in addition to concerns from businesses, some of them have already started insuring their workers. Officials said during the 8th Health Insurance Conference, which was held in Dubai on November 28 and 29, 2022, that health insurance will be required in every emirate in the country by the end of the first quarter of 2023. When health insurance becomes required in all emirates, UAE nationals and residents will have access to a wider range of medical insurance options. However, this does not imply that all seven emirates will provide the same fundamental medical care. The price of each Emirate’s “basic” health insurance premium may be up to them.

Abu Dhabi.

The local health insurance law in Abu Dhabi is known as Abu Dhabi Health Insurance Law No. 23 of 2005. Health insurance is mandated by law for every resident, including locals and foreigners.  The Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) oversees the health insurance market in Abu Dhabi. Until it was replaced by the Authority for Support and Development of Care (also known as the GASDH), the Ministry of Health was the administratively responsible authority for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. After then, Abu Dhabi’s Health Authority was created. Employers must provide health insurance to employees and their dependents. One of the bare minimums required by law is the provision of inpatient and outpatient treatment.

The Abu Dhabi government’s “Thiqa” programme completely insures all UAE nationals living in Abu Dhabi. Each resident receives a Thiqa card, which gives them complete access to the numerous private and public healthcare providers enrolled within the Daman network. It also provides broader regional coverage and greater health benefits.

To qualify for the Thiqa programme, UAE nationals living in Abu Dhabi between the ages of 18 and 75 must undergo the Weqaya screening, which is carried out by the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi. The health check, which is carried out to identify cardiovascular risk factors, may only be waived in exceptional situations.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Health issued several modifications to the health insurance plans for the “Thiqa” plan and the Abu Dhabi Basic Plan. The amendments became effective on July 1st, 2016. They were developed to make the most of the health insurance system and increase industry efficiency to better meet existing and future demands.

Employees over 40 may be required to pay up to 50% of the cost of their insurance under recent modifications to the Basic Plan. Although this co-payment amount is negotiable, employees and their employers can come to an understanding. The employee will also be liable for paying half of the policy’s premium for their dependents (such as their wife and up to three children), depending on the dependents’ ages, if the employer declines to fund these costs. The individual will also pay in full for the insurance of any other dependents, such as parents.

The cost of the fundamental coverage was AED 600 per year before the introduction of these amendments. For foreign employees between the ages of 18 and 59, the amounts are now AED 800, while for those over 60, they are AED 5,500. Married women between the ages of 18 and 50 must pay a mandatory additional maternity charge of AED 750.


The Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 was put into effect in the United Arab Emirates as a requirement for health insurance. The strict application of this rule throughout all corporate entities was the responsibility of the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Free Zone. The Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai had an impact on the decision to put into effect the Dubai Health Insurance Law of 2013. With limited exclusions, the Dubai Health Insurance Law mandates companies to offer health insurance to all their workers, including domestic workers. Every employer in Dubai is required by law to offer a compulsory insurance plan, costing between AED 550 and AED 700.

Additionally, the law requires coverage for an employee’s domestic workers, children, and spouses. 44 insurance firms in the UAE received Health Insurance Permits as part of the process through which criteria were put into place, enabling them to offer a variety of health insurance products in Dubai.

The minimum necessary benefits that health insurance plans must provide are specified by law. These advantages include services for prevention, cure, and rehabilitation. Medical consultations, diagnoses, treatments, prescriptions, and emergencies should all be covered.

Both inpatient and outpatient services must be covered by health insurance plans. Hospitalisation, operations, and other medical procedures requiring hospital admission are all examples of inpatient care. Consultations, lab work, and drug administration outside of a hospital environment are all considered to be outpatient services.

The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) offers a list of recognised companies from which employers can pick their insurance provider. These insurance providers must fulfil requirements established by the DHA, such as financial stability and high-quality service.

If they have a current Dubai-issued residency visa, employees, dependents, and domestic workers are eligible for health insurance coverage. To preserve ongoing coverage, insurance plans must be renewed every year.

While the cost of coverage for dependents can be split between the employer and the employee, insurance premiums for employees are the responsibility of the employer. Employers cannot take money out of the earnings of a worker to pay for insurance.

The DHA may apply penalties and fines for failure to abide by the health insurance law. Employers that violate the law may be subject to penalties, the suspension of their business licences, or possible legal action. The justification for this need is that it serves the interests of the employers themselves to have their workers financially protected in case of a medical emergency. The amount given in the law makes it clear that paying a monthly sum of five to seven hundred dirhams is a very minor investment. If the worker or employee did not have insurance and experienced a serious emergency or other health concern, the company may have been held financially liable for hundreds of dirhams. Employers must also provide coverage for workers who already have insurance through a parent, spouse, or on their own.

A health insurance policy called Saada is available to residents of the emirate of Dubai. It offers insurance coverage to residents of the Dubai Emirate who are not currently eligible for any government health programmes. The scheme offers treatment through a vast network of private healthcare facilities and DHA medical facilities. Information about the Saada scheme that each citizen has subscribed to is listed on their Emirates ID card.

Administrative Resolution No 78 of 2022

The Executive Regulations of Law No. 11 of 2013 Concerning Health Insurance in the Emirate of Dubai were issued by Administrative Resolution No. 78 of 2022 in October 2022, and they took effect on November 17, 2022, after being published in the Gazette.

The Dubai Health Law pertains to hospitals and clinics that are under the DHA’s regulation, making the Executive Regulations to Health Law important to those in the insurance business who work with health insurance in the Emirate of Dubai.

The Dubai Health Law’s provisions are not replaced by the Executive Regulations; rather, they are aimed to supplement it by giving more information on the processes, rules, and duties that apply to the many parties involved in the health insurance sector.

The Essential Benefits Plan (EBP) for the Mandatory Insurance Scheme in Dubai is defined by the regulations made following the Dubai Law. For insurance services up to a maximum annual coverage of AED 150,000, the EBP premium ranges from AED 500 to AED 700. However, an insurer may only offer EBP coverage if it has a specific licence to do so.

Only lower-paid band employees making AED 4,000 or less are eligible to purchase products from these insurers, which are known as Participating Insurers. Other insurers authorised under the DHA licencing regime with a Health Insurance Permit (HIP) may provide “Enhanced Products” to residents who do not fall within the aforementioned salary range. These products are typically medical products that are underwritten per the DHA’s Standard Notices, Circulars, and Policy Directives.

Provisions on beneficiaries’ responsibilities have been further outlined, requiring beneficiaries to provide the insurer with a comprehensive and accurate medical history and to alert DHA if there is any abuse or manipulation of the health insurance system. Several additional provisions have also been added, including those governing the pricing of health services, the approval of prices, the guidelines for the security of health insurance data, the termination or transfer of health insurance policies, monitoring and inspection, and complaints and disputes.


There is not yet a law requiring every resident of Sharjah to obtain health insurance. However, a few Sharjah-based employers voluntarily offer their staff members health insurance coverage. For UAE residents living in the emirate of Sharjah, health insurance coverage is managed by the Department of Health Insurance at Sharjah Health Authority. Only Sharjah Government workers, their families, and Senior Emiratis (those 60 years of age or older) were initially eligible for health care. But as of January 2020, it decided to cover all Sharjah residents with insurance.

Ajman, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Umm Al Quwain.

There are no laws requiring health insurance in these Emirates, however, some government agencies and particular enterprises may provide their staff with health insurance.

Health insurance for resident expatriates.

The employee’s pay, position, and other factors affect how much coverage is provided for employers and their families. The price of medical treatments would depend on the type of insurance or plan one has and how much coverage they have.

Employers and sponsors are responsible for providing health insurance coverage for their employees and their families (one spouse and three children under the age of 18) in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Employers in the emirate of Dubai are obligated to offer their worker’s health insurance coverage. Sponsors must get insurance coverage for the dependents who are living with them.

In the UAE, there are several insurance firms. Many additionally offer Islamic insurance or takaful.

Conditions and requirements.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), there are various standards and conditions that people must fulfil to receive health insurance.

Resident Visa: Applicants must possess a current resident visa to be eligible for health insurance in the UAE. Health insurance coverage frequently depends on a person’s place of residence. Individuals must, therefore, possess a current residency permit issued by the appropriate UAE authorities.

Sponsorship by employer: Health insurance in the UAE is often offered through a programme funded by the employer. If you work in the UAE, it is your employer’s responsibility to provide health insurance for you and any dependents you have, such as your spouse, children, and occasionally domestic help.

Dependents: In the UAE, spouses, children, and other relatives are frequently covered by health insurance. Depending on the employer and the insurance policy, different dependents may be covered under different eligibility requirements.

Age Restrictions: In the UAE, some health insurance plans may include an upper age restriction for coverage. For instance, dependent child coverage may be offered up to a specific age, often between 18 and 21 years. The individuals might need to have their health insurance after hitting the age cap.

Pre-existing Conditions: Pre-existing conditions may be covered differently by various health insurance companies in the UAE. For a predetermined waiting period, some insurance policies might not cover pre-existing conditions, while others might start covering them right away. Understanding how pre-existing conditions are addressed requires carefully reading the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

Medical Exams: Individuals may be required to have a medical exam as part of the application process, depending on the insurance company and the coverage being sought. These medical tests assist the insurance provider in evaluating the patient’s health and establishing the premiums or terms of coverage.

Premium Payments: Although most UAE workers do not pay their health insurance premiums upfront, certain employers may take a percentage of the payment out of their remuneration. Employers and insurance companies may have different payment schedules.

Failure to have insurance coverage.

If a person does not have the required health insurance or is unable to provide proof of it, the authorities will impose monthly fines on Dubai and Abu Dhabi residents. In Abu Dhabi, there is a monthly fee of AED 300 that is imposed. In contrast, Dubai’s government can refuse to renew new visas or give resident status without confirmation of the necessary health insurance coverage. The fine in Dubai is AED 500 per month.

Under the legislation, everyone wishing to apply for the issue or renewal of a visa must also have health insurance. While businesses are liable for their employees’ health insurance, this obligation does not include the employees’ dependents.

Only Abu Dhabi and Dubai are now required to have health insurance, leaving a substantial section of the population without sufficient coverage. In the United Arab Emirates, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah, or Umm Al Quwain are home to about one-third of the country’s residents. The decision to extend the obligation for health insurance coverage to all the emirates would benefit locals and will favourably stimulate growth in premiums in the UAE insurance market. Laws and regulations governing health insurance may be updated or changed. Therefore, to obtain the most current and accurate information possible about the health insurance laws in the United Arab Emirates, and more specifically, in each Emirate, it is always advisable to consult official sources and relevant authorities or legal experts.

This article’s information should not be regarded as legal advice. Hassan Al Reyami Advocates and legal consultants will be happy to discuss your concerns during a 30-minute free legal consultation session if you are involved in any legal issues related to the following subject or have any questions.

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