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Rising Health Insurance Premiums Challenge UAE Residents’ Budgets

Residents in the UAE are facing higher health insurance costs, with over a dozen insurance providers hiking rates.

UAE residents face increased health insurance premiums, with nearly a dozen insurance companies raising rates by up to 35% in the past two months.

Steady Increase Since the Pandemic:

According to Toshita Chauhan, the Business Head for Health and Motor Insurance at PolicyBazaar.ae, the rate hikes began in August 2023 and continued into September and October. 

These increases have been driven by medical inflation, with average pricing rising between 10% and 35%, depending on the applicant’s age. Health insurance rates have risen by 15% to 20% annually since the pandemic.

Compulsory Health Insurance in the UAE:

Compulsory health insurance was introduced in the UAE a few years ago, making it the employer’s responsibility to provide health insurance coverage to employees. 

However, if the employer doesn’t offer insurance for children, parents must purchase health insurance for their dependents.

Thriving Health Insurance Sector:

The UAE’s health insurance sector is renowned for its quality and has been attracting health tourists to the country. 

Dubai, in particular, received 674,000 medical tourists the previous year, contributing significantly to the local economy.

Specifics of Premium Changes:

Chauhan mentioned that the minimum premium for employees earning below Dh4,000 monthly remains unchanged. 

However, the pricing for basic insurance concerning employees earning above Dh4,000 monthly has increased. 

Married females between 18 and 45 have seen a 10% increase, while those sponsored by their husbands have faced a 20% to 30% price hike.

Factors Driving Premium Increases:

Moin Ur Rehman, Executive Director of Unitrust Insurance, explained that premium increases can be attributed to various factors, including medical inflation, rising costs of medical treatments, drugs, and technology, an aging population, and the prevalence of chronic diseases. 

Negotiations between insurance companies and healthcare providers are based on the Dubai Health Authority (DHA)-approved gross price list, legitimizing the rate hikes.

The Importance of Timely Coverage:

Toshita Chauhan emphasized the need for residents to purchase an insurance plan promptly, not only due to concerns about rising rates but also to ensure they are adequately covered in case of emergencies.

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