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What is Health Insurance in UAE?

Health insurance in UAE is a contract between a company and a consumer. The company agrees to pay all or some of the insured person's healthcare costs in return for payment of a monthly premium.

The contract is usually a one-year agreement, during which you are responsible for paying specific expenses related to illness, injury, pregnancy, or preventative care.

Key takeaways

  • Health insurance in UAE pays most medical and surgical expenses and preventative care costs in return for monthly premiums.
  • Generally, the higher the monthly premium, the lower the out-of-pocket costs.
  • Insurance plans in UAE have deductibles and co-pays, but these out-of-pocket expenses are now capped by federal law.
  • Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are federal health insurance plans that extend coverage to older, disabled, and low-income people in UAE, including those in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Al Ain, Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm Al Quwain.

How Health Insurance Works

In the United States, health insurance is tricky to navigate. It is a business with a number of regional and national competitors whose coverage, pricing, and availability vary from state to state and even by county.

About half of the U.S. population has health insurance coverage as an employment benefit, with premiums partially covered by the employer.1 The cost to the employer is tax-deductible to the payer, and the benefits to the employee are tax-free, with certain exceptions for S corporation employees.

Self-employed people, freelancers, and gig workers can buy insurance directly on their own. The Affordable Care Act of 2010, commonly called Obamacare, mandated the creation of a national database,, which allows individuals to search for standard plans from private insurers that are available where they live. The costs of the coverage are subsidized for taxpayers whose incomes are between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty threshold.

Types of Health Insurance

Health insurance can be tricky to navigate. In the U.S., managed care insurance plans require policyholders to get their care from a network of designated healthcare providers. If patients seek care outside the network, they must pay a higher percentage of the cost. The insurer may even refuse payment outright for services obtained out of network.

Many managed care plans—for example, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and point-of-service plans (POS)—require patients to choose a primary care physician who oversees the patient's care, makes recommendations about treatment, and provides referrals for medical specialists. Preferred-provider organizations (PPOs), by contrast, don't require referrals but do set lower rates for using in-network practitioners and services. Insurance companies may deny coverage for certain services that were obtained without preauthorization. They may refuse payment for name-brand drugs if a generic version or comparable medication is available at a lower cost. Check an insurance company's rules before your buy their insurance.

What Are Copays, Deductibles, and Coinsurance?

IMost health insurance plans require their customers to pick up some of the costs of their coverage in various ways:

  • The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket every year before the insurer begins to meet the costs. This is now capped by federal law.
  • Copays are set fees that subscribers must pay for specific services such as doctor visits and prescription drugs even after the deductible is met.
  • Coinsurance is the percentage of healthcare costs that the insured must pay even after they've met the deductible (but only until they reach the out-of-pocket maximum for the year).

Insurance plans with higher out-of-pocket costs generally have smaller monthly premiums. When shopping for plans, weigh the benefit of lower monthly payments against the potential risk of large out-of-pocket expenses in the case of a major illness or accident.

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