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Worldwide Medical Insurance News: Expats in UAE to be charged

Expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are to be charged 500 Emirati dirhams (£88) to be issued with a health card.

Once secured, the holder will be entitled to reduced fees when seeking treatment in government hospitals, reports Golf Business.

The WAM state news authority said: "Article (2) of the decision, published in the official gazette, defines the fees for issuing and renewing a health card for non-nationals to be Dhs500 per year for all ages.

"A fee of Dhs300 will be levied for the issuance of a health card in lieu of a lost one."

New rules come into effect 60 days after they have been published in the official gazette, giving expats two months to get organised and purchase a card.

Recently expats living in the UAE have seen the cost of healthcare rise. Employers in Abu Dhabi are required to provide mandatory health insurance for their staff, but this is not the case in Dubai.

A 60 dirham charge is levied on expats in Dubai who require a note validating their sick leave from the health authority.

Last year the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry released a report that found the UAE had a higher medical expenditure per capita than anywhere else in the Middle East.

And new research has found that drugs cost 23 times more than the recommended prices set out by the World Health Organization.

One of the ways in which the authorities are trying to tackle the problem is by adopting regulations to curb prices on medicines.

So far more than 6,600 drugs imported from elsewhere have seen their prices slashed, some by as much as 40 per cent.

Comprehensive expatriate insurance is a must-have for anyone moving to the region, otherwise they may find themselves out of pocket.

They will also need to ensure that they procure the new health card so that they qualify for reduced fees if going into hospital.

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