Dubai: The mandatory health insurance requirement for visit visas is a grey area, according to readers who approached Gulf News on grounds of anonymity. Further, a few healthcare providers do not accept the health insurance, leaving visitors to pay for treatment, Gulf News has also learnt.
Residents claimed that travel agencies in Dubai arrange for visit visas without health insurance.
According to the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), the visit permit for a period of 30 days has to include health insurance along with the necessary documents.
Posing as a customer Gulf News contacted a few Dubai-based travel agencies.
One representative said that health insurance was mandatory and was covered in the visa charge, but couldn’t provide information on the cost of the insurance and the cover.
Another travel agent said that the cost of the visa wasn’t inclusive of health insurance and claimed that the travel agency could arrange for a visit visa without insurance.
A free zone travel agent said that health insurance was mandatory and the charges of the visit visa would cover the cost of insurance which is Dh40. A spokesperson from Emirates airline told Gulf News: “Emirates complies with the rules and regulations of the markets in which we operate.”
Gulf News contacted the health authorities to find out about the issue of hospitals in the UAE — both government and private — not accepting the health insurance presented by visitors. The newspaper was informed that the health insurance issue is the remit of the GDRFA.
To learn about the health insurance policy, Gulf News spoke to Dr Sven Rohte, chief commercial officer at Daman. The company’s visit visa insurance plan provides medical insurance for visitors to the UAE and only covers emergency medical conditions. The validity of the insurance plan depends on the duration of the visit visa and can range from 40 days up to 190 days, while the limit within the cover is Dh150,000.
Dr Rohte said: “The insurance covers hospitalisation expenses necessary to treat an emergency case; which includes — but not limited to — accommodation, pharmaceuticals, physiotherapy and rehabilitation sessions and post-traumatic dental treatment [treating dental ailments resulting from accidents].
“It is important to note that pre-existing and chronic conditions are not covered in the visitor plan. However in the event such conditions develop into an emergency, for example an asthma attack, the case will be covered until the patient is stabilised in the emergency room.
“Visitors enrolled in the visitor plan are fully covered by Daman in both network hospitals [those holding a contract with Daman] and non-network hospitals. Patients who are taken for emergency in non-network hospitals will have to pay the hospital directly and request reimbursement from Daman,” he said.
In the case of health insurance not being accepted, Dr Rohte added that the company encourages people to call to complain or report incidents.
The UAE Insurance Authority that supervises and monitors insurance companies and agents could not be reached for a comment by press deadline.