Dubai


Middle East expats facing rising health insurance costs

by Ray Clancy on August 10, 2016

Expats in the Middle East have faced a number of changes to health insurance with cover becoming mandatory in some locations.

Mandatory health insurance has been introduced by the Dubai Health Authority in three stages since 2014 and now all residents, including expats and their dependants, must have adequate health insurance coverage.

AmbulanceThe vast majority of health insurance for expats is provided by companies and indeed visas and business licenses are likely to not be issued or renewed in Dubai without employer sponsored insurance.

In Abu Dhabi, the Health Authority announced in June that workers aged 40 and older who have health care under the Abu Dhabi Basic Plan must not pay up to 50% of their insurance premiums.

The full implications of this change are not yet known, but many expat workers believe that the extra cost will be passed on by sponsors or companies and that the cost is going up.

This coverage, provided by The National Health Insurance Company Daman, was set at Dh600 per adult sponsored by groups, small investors, Emirati individuals and individual expats, but some are reporting a rise to Dh800.

Most small investors and groups pay the insurance premium at the time of renewing expat visas and many have taken to online forums to say they are concerned about the cost.

The changes also require Emiratis in Abu Dhabi to now pay 20% of the cost of private health care in Abu Dhabi, and 50% for treatment outside the emirate if the care is already available in Abu Dhabi.

Research suggests that some of the changes are resulting in more visits to hospitals. According to health insurance provider Pacific Prime, this could result in even higher costs.

In Dubai the DHA’s annual statistics for 2014 shows that the number of inpatient visits in 2014 increased by 8.4% from 2013. Meanwhile, the population in Dubai increased from 2.214 million in 2013 to 2.327 million in 2014, an increase of 5.1%.

‘When comparing these two figures it is clear to see that the number of inpatient visits is higher than the population growth. As many inpatient procedures are more costly than outpatient it is highly likely that the cost of care will increase, which will put pressure on insurers to cover these costs, especially as 2015’s and 2016’s figures will reflect the increased number of citizens covered by the DHA scheme,’ said a spokesman for Pacific Prime.

So far, Pacific Prime’s research has uncovered an increase in claims in Dubai in 2015 and 2016. ‘Combine this with the fact that many diseases, like diabetes, are increasingly affecting a larger number of people in the city and with all residents now covered by insurance, we predict that the number of claims will increase even further beyond what has already been seen,’ he explained.

‘This increase in claims, especially on costly diseases, and the fact that all plans secured in Dubai must also cover maternity and pre-existing conditions, has resulted in an increase in the cost of insurance as providers need to have more premiums in their pools in order to cover the increased claims,’ he added.

It is estimated that expats make up 80% of the population in Dubai and many want health insurance coverage both in Dubai and in their home countries. Subsequently, there has been a noticeable upward impact on the cost of health insurance. For example, the average cost of international health insurance in Dubai was US$8,038 in 2015 and is now US$10,213 in 2016, an increase of 27% in just one year.

{ 0 comments }

Thumbnail image for Survey reveals UAE expats find buying a home too costly

Survey reveals UAE expats find buying a home too costly

July 22, 2016 Dubai

The majority of expats in the United Arab Emirates do not buy a home with many saying that prices are too high, new research has found. Despite staying in the UAE for over five years, they believe that buying a home is not affordable, including the down payment needed before getting a mortgage. Indeed, just […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New Inheritance Rules in Dubai Allow Expats to Pass on Property for First Time

New Inheritance Rules in Dubai Allow Expats to Pass on Property for First Time

May 7, 2015 Dubai

Expats in Dubai with assets such as property will now be able to choose how their estate is to be distributed under new inheritance rules. New rules set in place by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) will allow non-Muslim to be exempt from Sharia laws on succession. The DIFC has launched a Wills and […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Expats in Dubai struggling to buy property due to mortgage caps

Expats in Dubai struggling to buy property due to mortgage caps

August 22, 2014 Dubai

Developers in Dubai should consider reintroducing rent-to-own schemes as expats are struggling to afford to buy a property in the emirate, it is claimed. Such schemes were popular during the early 2000s when Dubai was establishing its own property marketplace. They helped those struggling to afford to buy amid stricter regulations designed to cool rising […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Expat mothers at greater risk of post natal depression

Expat mothers at greater risk of post natal depression

April 7, 2014 Dubai

Expat mothers are at a greater risk of suffering some form of post natal depression as they may not get the same support, especially from close family members, it is claimed. They are advised not to be shy of discussing any concerns they may have with their doctor and also to check that their health […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Professional salaries in Middle East expected to increase in 2014

Professional salaries in Middle East expected to increase in 2014

February 6, 2014 Dubai

Expats looking for a job where a decent salary increase can be expected might want to look to the Middle East and North Africa where professional job opportunities and wages are rising. Professional job opportunities in the region are set to rise by 8% to 10% in 2014, according to a new report from recruitment […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New index rates most dynamic global cities

New index rates most dynamic global cities

January 24, 2014 America

When deciding where to move abroad many expats try to find out as much as they can about their potential new home country and now a report can help then choose the most dynamic cities. San Francisco, London, Dubai, Shanghai and Wuhan are named as the most successful cities that have a combination of strong […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UAE and Hong Kong most popular expat locations for professionals

UAE and Hong Kong most popular expat locations for professionals

January 3, 2014 China

The United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong are the most popular expat destinations for relocating global professionals to stay on longer than they originally intended, according to a new report. The study, carried out by global specialist recruiter Hydrogen, has detailed Hong Kong as the celebrated gateway to China which is attracting a large number […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New expat account and investment facilities for UAE expats

New expat account and investment facilities for UAE expats

December 17, 2013 Dubai

In the five years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers led to the global economic crisis the number of expat bank accounts have shrunk, most notably in the UK. For example the Co-operative is one of the latest in a long line of banks to leave the offshore market. Others in 2013 have included the […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New health insurance law finally agreed in Dubai

New health insurance law finally agreed in Dubai

December 3, 2013 Dubai

Health insurance will become mandatory in Dubai for everyone from next year including expats and visitors. Employers will be responsible for the health insurance of their employees, whilst the government will be responsible for health insurance of United Arab Emirates (UAE) nationals and visitors will need to provide proof of insurance if they need treatment. […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Expats in UAE spend most on luxuries

Expats in UAE spend most on luxuries

September 26, 2013 Dubai

The saving, spending and investment behaviour of Western expats in increasingly popular locations have been revealed for the first time by a new survey. A poll of hundreds of expats in Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, three destinations that are becoming increasingly sought after for overseas jobs, shows those in the UAE […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Employment opportunities in the Middle East

Employment opportunities in the Middle East

February 22, 2013 Dubai

In the next three months some 30% of Middle East and North Africa employers are definitely hiring while 27% say that they are probably hiring, a new survey indicates, an increase of 2% in both instances in comparison to the thirds quarter of 2012. Across the region, multinational private sector companies will be hiring the […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UAE employees want work/life balance but many admit to being stressed

UAE employees want work/life balance but many admit to being stressed

February 5, 2013 Dubai

The majority of people working in the United Arab Emirates regard a good work/life balance as being important but many feel under stress every day, according to a new survey. On a day to day basis some 56% of employees in the UAE feel that they are either highly motivated or motivated 28% by the […]

Read the full article →