Before you move to another place, learning about the UAE’s healthcare system and health insurance is important. If you’re going to the Gulf country, you’ll be glad to know that the quality of healthcare is really good, and you don’t need to worry about it.

The UAE has really good hospitals and doctors, and the healthcare system is one of the best in the world. The hospitals are modern and easy to get to for people who live there and new people. There are public and private hospitals, and many people from other countries like to go to private ones. In private hospitals, the doctors can speak English and are often from other countries.

Healthcare services in the UAE can be expensive, but they are worth it. If you are from the UAE, you can go to public hospitals and clinics, which will cost little or sometimes nothing. But if you are from another country, you have to pay a fee, and you can only go to public hospitals if you have a health card. If you need to find a doctor, you can look online. 

The hospitals in the UAE have really good equipment, and the doctors are very skilled. They come from many different countries, so you can trust they will take good care of you. When you’re getting ready for your move, you can use this guide to learn more about the healthcare system in the UAE and find answers to any questions you have.

How Healthcare Works in the UAE?

How Healthcare Works in the UAE?

Image Source

The UAE has a fancy healthcare system paid for by the government, which means they use their money to care for people’s health. They also have fancy private hospitals growing fast and providing good care. The people who live in the UAE are lucky because the big government and the government of each emirate control their healthcare.

In the UAE, each emirate has its way of doing healthcare, but you will get good treatment no matter where you go. People from other countries, called expats, can go to public and private hospitals. But there’s a difference: Emirati people can go to public hospitals and clinics and not have to pay a lot of money, and sometimes they don’t have to pay anything. But expats have to pay a fee.

UAE Healthcare Facts

UAE Healthcare Facts

Image Source

  • Abu Dhabi and Dubai are two popular places in the UAE that many people from other countries visit. In these places, the healthcare is super good! Dubai, in particular, is famous for having great medical procedures and nice hospitals. People from all over the world come to Dubai for treatment, and this is called “medical tourism.” People will need to obtain their visas for medical treatment. In 2016, Dubai had around 326,649 medical tourists. It’s expected that by the end of 2020, the number will be even bigger, maybe more than 500,000!
  • If you work in Abu Dhabi, your company has to give you health insurance. That means they will help pay for your medical expenses. You can also get health insurance for your family. Your family includes your husband or wife and up to three kids younger than 18. But if you have a fourth child, you must take care of their health insurance yourself.
  • In Dubai, companies have to give health insurance to their workers. But they don’t have to give it to their families. The Dubai government thinks it’s a good idea for companies to cover families, but it’s not a rule. They just want to ensure everyone has healthcare because it’s the law.
  • The types of doctors people wish to see in Dubai are bone, skin, and eye doctors. They are super popular! Dubai is famous for making your face look pretty, fixing your teeth, and helping people have babies. Many people go to Dubai for these treatments because they are good at it.
  • If you live in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, you must get health insurance, even if you don’t have a job. It’s a rule! If you don’t have insurance, you must pay a monthly fine. The fine is 500 AED (which is about 136 USD). You can only get a visa to live there with insurance, so people ensure they have it.
  • If your company doesn’t give you health insurance or doesn’t give it to your family, you have to take care of it yourself. You become the sponsor for their coverage. It means you have to make sure they have insurance.
  • In the northern emirates of Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Ras Al-Khaimah, and Umm Al-Quwain, employers don’t need to provide health insurance to employees.

What does the UAE Public Healthcare Cover?

UAE Public Healthcare Cover

Image Source

Just like everything else, what public healthcare covers in the UAE differs in each place. But in general, it takes care of basic health needs such as:

  • Maternity services
  • Emergencies
  • Public healthcare in the UAE takes care of basic things like check-ups, treatments, and tests by doctors and specialists. It also includes services like lab tests, X-rays, and therapy. They even provide medicine that doctors prescribe to help you feel better.
  • Preventive services (necessary vaccinations and immunizations for youngsters and newborns)

Below are the things that are excluded:

  • Vision correction by surgery or laser
  • Hearing and vision aids
  • Dental and gum exams

In some circumstances, public healthcare can also apply to surgical operations, maternity follow-ups, and physiotherapy.

Essential Benefits Plan

Essential Benefits Plan

Image Source

You have options if your boss doesn’t give you healthcare or cover your family! You can get your private healthcare plan or the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP). The EBP gives you the same coverage as public healthcare. It’s only for people who earn less than 4,000 AED per month (about 1,090 USD).

If you have helpers at home, you must also give them healthcare. Many expats go for the EBP. It costs around 550 to 650 AED annually (about 150 to 175 USD).

Healthcare Cities

The UAE came up with an idea to make healthcare better and easier. They made special places called healthcare cities! These cities have lots of clinics with different kinds of doctors. Right now, there are three healthcare cities in the UAE. They’re like big complexes where you can find all the other doctors you need in one place. It makes it convenient for people to get the care they need.

  • Dubai Healthcare City
  • Sharjah Healthcare City
  • Sheikh Khalifa Medical City

UAE Healthcare Costs

How much your employer covers for your health insurance depends on how much money you make and your job. It’s different for everyone. The more they cover, the less you must pay for medical stuff. So, it all depends on your insurance plan and how much your employer helps with the cost.

The UAE Healthcare System Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Public health facilities are less expensive, but wait times are long.
  • Private hospitals generally have few wait times.
  • English is widely spoken within private healthcare facilities.
  • World-Class medical care.
  • Innovative technology


  • Those who speak Arabic or English may need help to see a medical professional they can communicate with.
  • Pricey

Why is Healthcare so Expensive in the UAE?

Healthcare in the UAE is pricey for a few reasons. First, there are many more people from other countries, called expats, than Emirati people. That means there are more private hospitals and clinics than public ones. In 2018, 33 government and 71 private hospitals were in the UAE.

Another reason healthcare costs a lot is that people usually go straight to specialists instead of starting with a regular doctor. This means they need more tests and consultations, increasing the bills.

Lastly, healthcare in the UAE is expensive because you’re paying for good treatment. The doctors there are super intelligent and have all the latest equipment. They even do research. All this great stuff comes at a high price, but you can trust that you’ll get top-notch care.

Do You Require Health Insurance in the UAE?

Health Insurance in the UAE

Image Source

If you want to live in the UAE, you must show your health insurance. You need proof of it to get a visa to stay there. But here’s the thing: Emirati people don’t have to pay for insurance, but expats have to pay for private and public health insurance in the UAE.

  • Dubai: When you work for a company in the UAE, your company has to give you health insurance. But they don’t have to give it to your family.
  • Abu Dhabi: Employers must provide health insurance coverage for their employees and four dependents (one spouse and up to three children under 18; expats with four or more children will need to take on their coverage themselves).
  • Sharjah and Northern Emirates: Employers are not mandated to provide medical insurance for their employees.

The UAE Health Card

UAE Health Card

Image Source

In Dubai, if your employer or spouse’s employer doesn’t give you health insurance, you must get a health card. The health card gives you basic healthcare, like what Emirati people get from public healthcare.

You need a health card to go to public hospitals and clinics. Even with private insurance, having a health card is a good idea. Private insurance might only cover some things, and sometimes visiting a government hospital or clinic is cheaper. So having a health card can be helpful.

Health Card Fees

There are different fees for health services in the UAE based on age. If you are between 0 to 9 years old, it costs 100 AED (about 27 USD). If you are between 10 to 17 years old, it costs 200 AED (about 54 USD). And if you are 18 or older, it costs 300 AED (about 82 USD). These fees help cover the cost of the healthcare services you receive.

Requirements to Obtain a UAE Health Card

  • Passport copy
  • Covering letter from a sponsor
  • Visa application copy
  • Two passport-size photographs
  • Completed application form

Average Health Insurance Cost in the UAE

Many UAE companies give their employees health insurance as part of their salary. But not all companies do that. If you want good insurance covering many things, you might have to pay around 10,000 AED (about 2,720 USD) annually. 

The cost of insurance that most insurance companies offer can vary. For example, if you’re 30 and want good coverage, it might be around 5,500 AED (about 1,500 USD) per year. But if you have a family of four and want good coverage, it could be approximately 33,500 AED (about 9,120 USD) per year. A basic coverage plan for a family of four might cost around 17,000 AED (about 4,630 USD).

About Author

Rizalie Gumalog

About Author

Rizalie Gumalog is a digital storyteller known for her eclectic writing styles that captivate audiences. With her almost 3 years of experience, she crafts engaging articles that build meaningful connections between brands and their audience. Drawing inspiration from nature and music, Riza is committed to creating enriching experiences and is always ready for new digital explorations.