Sure, you have health insurance, but do you know what it covers?


Sponsored: Most people in Dubai have health insurance, but many don’t realise that lots of things actually aren’t covered in their plans. It pays to be informed…

It’s great that it’s a legal requirement for Dubai employers to provide health insurance to their employees. It does, however, tend to lull people into a false sense of security – remember, it’s still important to check what your health insurance covers so that you don’t get left with a huge bill when travelling or in case of a long hospital stay for instance.

A survey by Cigna this year showed that nearly 50 per cent of UAE respondents were worried they would be unable to pay their family’s or their own medical expenses due to bills incurred on top of their standard work health insurance. That’s a problem the global insurance company is trying to help solve with Cigna HealthguardSM, an individual insurance plan made specifically for expats living in the UAE.

Side note: you may know of Zurich Insurance Middle East, who have a great reputation locally. Well, Cigna has acquired them, so they are now part of Cigna too.


The key to the CignaHealthguard SM is that it includes so many different types of care in its coverage, meaning you’re far less likely to be left out in the cold. It includes hospital treatment, maternity care, outpatient and specialist services, some home nursing, prosthetics, emergency dental treatment, cancer care, diagnostic tests, prescriptions, mental health care, physiotherapy, osteopathy, homeopathy, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and out-of-area emergency cover. The plans also provide cover for pre-existing and chronic conditions (something that’s also often not covered by other insurance plans), and they offer financial assistance to those who need to travel home for medical treatment, as well as full medical repatriation when you are in an area where medical treatment may not be available in an emergency.

It’s definitely worth calling your current insurance provider to see if they will help with all of the above.


The CignaHealthguardSM also offers a 10 per cent discount on annual premiums to customers who meet certain healthy lifestyle criteria – such as those with a normal range BMI who haven’t smoked for 12 months. If you don’t qualify for the discount in the first year, you can strive to get qualified upon renewal. There’s also a ‘medical second opinion service’, where Cigna will get a nurse or doctor overseas to provide an international second opinion and a fresh look at a diagnosis or treatment plan for you.

Added benefits like this, and the lack of them with some plans, mean some UAE expats actually choose to get additional health insurance on top of the plans that come with their work.

There are three Cigna Healthguard plans:

– The Regional plan covers care within the GCC, Middle East and Asia (excluding Singapore, Hong Kong and China), has an annual benefit limit of Dhs2.75 million and excludes some of the high cost hospitals.

– The International plan means you get cover everywhere in the world – with an option to include coverage in the USA – has an overall annual benefit limit of Dhs7.35 million and includes access to Cigna’s entire network of hospitals (including the American Hospital Dubai).

– Then there’s the International Plus plan, which means worldwide coverage (with the option of USA coverage), an unlimited overall annual benefit and access to all of the hospitals and practitioners in the network.

Wondering what your current plan covers? Well, we say phone into your provider and check, and also phone Cigna on 8001 CIGNA (800124462) or check out their website for more info.

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Photo: Getty