Think you know about health insurance? Think you’ve covered all the angles? Then think again. There are several common misconceptions about health insurance that can lead to misinformation, confusion and poor decision making when purchasing. Here are 10 of the most frequent ones:

  1. My Health Insurance Will Cover Everything – Unfortunately, most health insurance policies come with limits, exclusions, and other restrictions that prevent them from covering all your health care needs and expenses.
  2. I Can’t Afford Health Insurance – Although healthcare costs are rising, there are still many affordable options for health insurance. Comparing plans, taking advantage of tax incentives, and exploring government programs can all help people save money on their health coverage.
  3. Pre-Existing Conditions Won’t Be Covered Under a New Policy – Depending on the plan you choose, many pre-existing conditions may be covered under new plans. It is important to read the policy carefully and ask questions about coverage for any pre-existing condition you may have.
  4. If I am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Health Insurance – Even if you are not currently sick or injured, having health insurance is essential as preventative care and wellness services are usually not provided unless you have coverage. Plus, health insurance in Dubai is mandatory under UAE federal law, so you’ll be in breach if you don’t have it and have complications with your eligibility and permission to remain in the emirates. We’ve created a guide called ‘Understanding Health Insurance Laws in Dubai‘ to help you learn about the important rules for health insurance.
  5. I Can’t Change My Health Insurance Once I Sign Up— Most health insurance plans will allow you to make changes to your policy throughout the year. It is important to check the details of your individual plan to see what changes are permitted.
  6. All Policies Have the Same Coverage – Not all insurers offer the same type of coverage. Before signing up, it’s important to research different plans and compare their benefits and cost.
  7. Government Healthcare Is Enough Government healthcare does not replace what a health insurance policy provides. That is why the UAE government mandated that all residents must have their own health insurance. 
  8. Health Insurance Ensures You’ll Never Pay Anything Out Of Pocket – Most health insurance plans require that you pay a portion of healthcare costs out of pocket. These out of pocket expenses usually come in the form of co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles.
  9. Emergency Room Visits Are Always Covered by Health Insurance – Depending on the plan, some emergency room visits may require you to pay a co-payment or deductible (which is otherwise known as excess). Check with your policy for specifics.
  10. Short-Term Health Insurance Offers The Same Benefits As Other Plans – Short-term health insurance plans are often cheaper than other forms of coverage, but they also provide less benefits than traditional plans. Be sure to read the policy carefully to understand what it does and does not cover.

Surprised by some of these? Perhaps the biggest misconception is that health insurance is expensive and not affordable. Of course, the most comprehensive plans don’t come cheap but they do still represent value for money when you consider what coverage they actually provide.

Whichever policy you select, whether it’s the minimum basic Essential Benefits Plan (the minimum mandated health insurance in Dubai) or a high-end comprehensive policy including American hospitals, the premium you pay is only a small fraction of the total benefits that the policy provides.

Take a broken limb, for example. The typical cost of treatment for a broken leg in Dubai can vary widely depending on the severity of the injury, the type of care needed, and the provider. Generally, a minor break may cost up to AED 4,000, while a more serious injury may be upwards of AED 10,000 or more if it requires surgery to align, plate and screw the break, followed by medication and extensive physiotherapy. Compare that to the cost of basic EBP coverage starting at around AED600 per year and the benefit is clear.

Like any insurance, it’s important to do your homework, and thoroughly research your options. With so much choice available, there’s a product to suit every person’s needs as well as their purse, so be clear on how much you can afford, the circumstances that dictate your needs, and the cover that’s available. Ideally, you should balance a combination of all three factors to find a policy that suits you best.

Happy health insurance hunting!

About Author

Rachel Al Mughairi

About Author

With over 34 years in the international insurance industry in a variety of senior management roles, and as holder of the Diploma in Insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute, Rachel surely knows her insurance! With experience in London, continental Europe and the Middle East, Rachel is here to share her knowledge and help you understand more about insurance products in this easy-to-understand series of videos and blogs.