Video: Six things to keep in mind when choosing a health insurance plan in the UAE

Understand the benefits and the coverage before choosing a plan



Health insurance is mandatory in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with every resident required under law to be covered by their sponsor.

But when deciding to choose an insurance plan, it is vital that adequate research is done into understanding the benefits and coverage that the policies provide.

From basic to premium plans, covering local and international markets, insurance providers have a wide range of options on offer, depending on the kind of coverage required.

“All health insurance gaps are being filled, leading to all dependents needing cover and an uptake in that group,” says Jerome Droesch, CEO Cigna MENA and board member for Cigna in India and Turkey.

Some of the things to keep in mind include checking the geographical range of coverage, the maximum limit, the facilities covered and the exclusions.

Here are six main things to keep note of, according to Cigna.

  1. Annual maximum limit

It is important to know the maximum amount the insurer will pay for all medical expenses per insured person, per year of insurance. Invariably, a policy that is more expensive will offer you a much higher coverage limit annually. 

  1. Area of cover

Insurance providers tend to have plans that offer local, regional and international coverage options, depending on the requirements. So if you tend to travel extensively, selecting worldwide coverage would be more beneficial. Cigna for instance provides options such as –

Area I: Worldwide

Area II: Worldwide excluding the US

Area IV: GCC, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iran, Africa, Philippines, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Thailand except where coverage and services (including payments) are illegal pursuant to in compliance with applicable sanction laws.

Seem more of Cigna’s health insurance policies here

  1. Outpatient consultation co-insurance 

Co-insurance is what you have to pay as a percentage of your total medical expenses following a consultation with a doctor. The policy will also specify the maximum amount you will have to pay for a visit. Some plans have higher co-insurance rates, so it is important to check this before buying the policy.

  1. Network of clinics, hospitals and pharmacies

All health insurance policies will specify the network of facilities they cover. In some cases, payment is provided to healthcare providers within the UAE through a direct billing process. This helps customers receive easy healthcare access as providers are paid directly in a timely and efficient manner, subject to the terms of the policy.

  1. Wellness benefits

Some of the more premium insurance plans tend to offer check-ups as part of efforts to promote overall health and wellbeing of their policyholders.

Cigna for instance offers routine physical examinations for members/dependents over the age of 18 years. This covers health assessments covering blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar as well as pap smear tests, prostate cancer screening and mammograms, subject to certain guidelines.

  1. Cost of additional benefits

Most health insurance plans in the UAE do not offer dental and vision-related coverage in the basic package, although these benefits can be added on to the plan. However, it is important to read the small text to know what exactly will be covered and what the exclusions are.

A dental plan with Cigna covers areas such as investigative and preventive treatment, restorative treatment, dental injuries, periodontal treatment and orthodontic treatment – however the benefits and co-insurance options are varied depending on the requirements.

Buying a health insurance plan is a decision that requires careful planning to ensure that you and your family get the coverage that you need, when you require it.

If you are looking for international coverage with a premium health insurance product and a team of medical experts for clinical support, check out the comprehensive health insurance policies at Cigna here.