A new law is being phased into use in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which will make it mandatory for expatriates to have health insurance.
Those wishing to continue living in Dubai after retiring will be required to purchase expat insurance to cover medical costs should they arise, reports Emirates 24|7.
Dr Haider Al Yousuf, director of health financing at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said that the new Health Insurance Act will mean all citizens and residents will be required to make sure they have this provision themselves.
Expats will be asked to show their insurance policy documents to staff when obtaining a residence visa to ensure that the practice is being carried out.
Anyone looking to renew their visas will need to sort out their insurance first. This will particularly impact retirees who may have had a policy through their jobs in the past.
An onus will also be on the sponsor to check that anyone they are endorsing has followed the correct procedure.
The law has already started to be brought in with relation to some categories, but will be extended to cover everyone in the coming months.
By 2015 all citizens will have to be covered and the same will be the case for residents by mid-2016.
Despite giving expats a period of grace, not having adequate insurance could prove a practical problem if not a legal one.
Specialised expat insurance acts as reassurance for anyone living abroad, should they fall ill their medical expenses will be paid and the best treatment will be sought without financial repercussions.
This is something that can be overlooked by British citizens used to dealing with the NHS and those living abroad should not think that travel insurance is a suitable alternative.
Different levels of expat insurance are available and it is a good idea to look carefully at what a policy includes before taking it out.
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