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Major Health Insurance Coverage Changes for UAE Expats and Emiratis from 1 July 2016

July 2016

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Expatriates and Emiratis in the United Arab Emirates have seen changes to their health insurance programs as of July 1, 2016. These changes will affect only those under the Abu Dhabi Basic Plan who seek treatment at a private hospital under the Thiqa plan for Emiratis, expatriates, and their families. Procedures at government hospitals are unaffected.

Thiqa, the Arabic word for “trust,” is a UAE national insurance initiative delivered through a comprehensive network of partner providers. It is currently managed by Daman Health.

According to the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the changes are designed to increase overall efficiency to better meet current and future demands and thereby safeguard the sustainability of the sector.

The new changes stipulate that Thiqa cardholders will be covered for 80% of the fees for treatment services received at private healthcare facilities in the UAE. Previous coverage was 100%. Expatriate workers age 40 and older could also have to pay up to 50% of their insurance premiums and expatriate employees could be liable for 50% of insurance premiums for dependents. Costs for childbirth will be assessed under a separate scheme, and domestic workers in Emirati households will be exempt from the changes until a framework to support this category can be put in place. The new amendments also stipulate that prescriptions from private healthcare facilities will only be dispensed by private pharmacies.

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