Health Cards and Insurance

How to obtain a health card and medical insurance to ensure treatment in Dubai...

Most companies employing white-collar expats offer some kind of private health insurance. With the new changes to the Dubai healthcare system, large companies (more than 1,000 employees) must arrange private health insurance for all of their employees. Potential new employees are obliged show proof of private coverage (paid for by the company) as part of the application for a work visa and residence permit.

Smaller companies (100 - 999 employees and 1 - 99 employees) have until July 2015 and June 2016 respectively to implement the same changes. Until these dates, foreign workers who do not have private health insurance offered by their employer as part of their package may buy their own private health insurance, apply for a government health card, or both.

There are many insurance companies offering packages to expatriates in the UAE: not all companies provide dental cover so check the insurance policy to see if dental treatment is covered. If not, private dental insurance may be arranged by the individual or dental services can be paid for without insurance.

Applying for a government health card

Paper application forms can be obtained from any government hospital or clinic. The application form must be submitted to the card-holder's local health care centre or hospital, in typed Arabic, along with the following documents:

  • Copy of passport
  • Covering letter from sponsor
  • Copy of visa application
  • Two passport photographs
  • The appropriate fee, which differs for UAE nationals and non-nationals

Health cards can also be applied for or renewed online. The card is valid for one year for non-UAE citizens and the renewal costs are lower than those of the original application.

Government health cards are issued to each member of the family regardless of age. Fees for cards vary depending on the age of the recipient (0-9 years, 10-17 years, and 18+ years). Fees for Dubai health cards vary according to the age of the card holder.