Dubai expats may face compulsory private medical insurance

Published:  20 Nov at 6 PM
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Confusion over Dubai’s medical cover policies for expats is causing concern that compulsory private health insurance is on the cards

A plan mooted by the Dubai government in 2008 just before the financial crisis hit would have resulted in all expat workers forced to carry private medical insurance. However, the scheme was deferred in favour of the huge expat community, but now looks likely to be reintroduced into law.

Since 2008, expats have had access to free medical care, due to the confusion over how comprehensive the cover should be and exactly who should have it. Insurance brokers serving the Gulf expat community have suggested that travel insurance will do, with others saying not having cover may result in deportation.

Adding to the uncertainty is neighbouring Abu Dhabi’s clear rules insisting on fully comprehensive cover for all expats and their families. Rumours that Dubai would bring back the deferred law have been rife for several years, with most suggesting the Abu Dhabi system would be used as a model.

According to the experts, any uninsured expat needing hospitalisation in Dubai would probably have to self-fund, as the huge number of expat workers in the emirate are putting a strain on the system. The positive side is that most insurers in the region must provide ‘medical history disregarded’ policies carrying no exemptions for previous conditions.
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