Frequently Asked Questions


What does the compulsory medical insurance mean for me?

UAE Nationals in the Emirate of Dubai have access for enrollment in the Nationals health insurance program: SAADA, funded by the Dubai Government. Please visit the following website for more information about the SAADA program:

Nationals who work for a private sector employer can choose to be in either employer’s scheme or to join the Nationals program. The private sector employer cannot exclude the National employee if he or she chooses to join the employer’s scheme.



What does the compulsory medical insurance mean for me?

If you work for a Dubai registered employer (including a Free Zone company), your employer is required by law to provide you with a health insurance plan. A minimum standard of cover called the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP) has been established by DHA which comprises the minimum level of coverage that must be offered by all employers. The law also extends to sponsors who must provide health coverage for their spouses, dependents and domestic workers.

The implementation deadlines for the law are as follows:

  • Workers at companies employing more than 1000 employees must have coverage in place by end October 2014;
  • Workers at companies employing between 1000 and 100 employees must have coverage in place by end July 2015;
  • All other workers (including domestic staff), spouses and dependents must be covered by end June 2016.

I am not employed but here on my spouse’s visa.  How will I be covered?

Dubai Health Authority encourages employers to provide medical insurance for the spouse or dependents of its employees.  However, if an employer does not provide cover, then your sponsor will need to arrange cover for you.

I am a domestic worker.  How will I benefit?

If you are working for a private family, for example as a maid, a nanny, a gardener or a driver, it will be your sponsor’s responsibility to provide you with medical insurance.

Why is Dubai introducing compulsory medical insurance?

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has stated that Dubai must have a world class healthcare system that provides both quality care and access to care.  Many people do not yet have a means of paying for treatment other than out of their own pocket.  In many cases this would mean residents without the funds would have to go without treatment.  Compulsory medical insurance will make sure that everyone living in Dubai will have access to the treatment they need and the means to pay for their basic healthcare needs.

I work for an employer registered in the Emirate of Dubai.  Does my employer have to provide me with medical insurance cover?

Yes.  All resident expatriates working for Dubai registered companies (including Free Zone entities) must receive at least a basic level of cover as stipulated by Dubai Health Authority and paid for by the employer.

My family are with me and on my sponsorship.  Does my employer have to provide medical insurance for them also?

Firstly, you should check your employment contract to see if your employer has a contractual obligation under the terms of your employment to provide you and your family with medical insurance.  Employers are encouraged to cover your spouse and dependents but in the event they do not then as their sponsor it will be your responsibility to arrange cover.

What is the definition of “dependents”?

This is limited to your spouse and dependent children who are on your sponsorship.

When does the compulsory insurance scheme start?

Roll out started early in 2014 and will be completed in phases by mid-2016.

What is “coinsurance”?  How is it different to a “deductible”?

Coinsurance is a percentage of the costs of consultations, treatment, tests, drugs and medicines that you have to pay.  A deductible is a fixed amount that you pay regardless of the overall cost of treatment.  Both are used as a means of keeping down the costs of medical insurance.

Where can I receive treatment if I have the basic benefits plan?

You should receive a card confirming your enrolment in the insurance plan as well as information on the services you are entitled to and a list of providers (hospitals, clinics etc) where you can receive these services.  This list is often referred to as the “Network”.  Your insurance company (or its Third Party Administrator) will have a network of providers in Dubai (and possibly other emirates) that you can use.  You should refer to your member handbook, your insurer’s (or TPA’s) website or otherwise contact them directly to find out which facilities you can use.

Can additional benefits be provided in excess of the requirements of the basic benefits plan?

Your employer (or you, if you are arranging cover for yourself or your dependents) can provide insurance which gives benefits in excess of the basic requirements but these additional benefits will normally require a higher premium.



Which workers will have to be covered by mandatory medical expenses insurance?

All expatriate workers employed by entities licensed to trade in the Emirate of Dubai or any of its Free Zones.

When will the requirement for mandatory cover be implemented?

The implementation schedule is as follows:

  • Workers at companies employing more than 1000 employees must have coverage in place by end October 2014;
  • Workers at companies employing between 1000 and 100 employees must have coverage in place by end July 2015;
  • All other workers (including domestic staff), spouses and dependents must be covered by end June 2016.

For more details, please see the Employer Information Pack

What cover will employers have to provide?

The main purpose of the scheme is to ensure that all expatriates in Dubai have access to quality basic healthcare and the means to pay for it.  There is a minimum level of cover that will need to be provided.  The purpose of this basic benefit plan is to ensure that those who currently have little or no coverage will have benefits of a reasonable standard.

The list of minimum benefits to be provided under ANY health insurance plan that is marketed in the Emirate of Dubai is available in the Appendix A of the Employer Information Pack

Will employers have to cover employees’ dependents?

As it is a matter of good employment practice to do so in order to assist with recruitment and retention of employees, DHA encourages employers to provide for dependents’ medical expenses although this is not compulsory.

Can an employer include dependents in a group insurance scheme but require a contribution from the employee for the cost?

It will be possible for employers to do this provided the insurance company offers this facility.

Can an employer ask the employee to contribute for his own cover or reduce the employee’s salary to compensate?