Dubai: Expatriates in Dubai who can't afford to purchase medical insurance policies may opt to buy a hospital health card for a much cheaper price.

Although the card doesn't work exactly the same as an insurance plan, it enables low-income residents to get special discounts on hospital services.

Amna Qoraishi, supervisor at Iranian Hospital's health card department, says they are offering two kinds of health cards that enable users to get discounts on their out-patient and in-patient medical services for one year.

A Dh100 worth of card entitles a resident to 20 per cent discount on visit charges to general doctors, specialists and sub-specialists; all laboratory tests except hormonal tests and tests done out of the hospital after sampling; all radiologic images except MRI, CT-scanning and EEG; physiotherapies recommended by Iranian Hospital doctors and tooth extraction.

A Dh250 card entitles the holder to 40 per cent discount on the same services at the hospital. Qoraishi says the card is popular among Dubai residents, with about 600 people registering daily.

Card holders can get free medicines from the hospital pharmacy, says Mohammad Ashrafi, manager of the health card and visa section.