If you don’t have the necessary health insurance when you go abroad, you could be turned away at the arrivals hall. Reported in the Telegraph this week, Abu Dhabi is one of several places where travellers have been sent home on the next flight for not having the required insurance.
Matthew Aston, head of marketing at AxaPPP, told the Telegraph: “Many people leaving the UK don’t seem to realise that comprehensive medical insurance, in most cases, is a necessity, not a luxury.
“For example, countries such as Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands require residents to have cover through a locally registered and approved provider, in order to satisfy local regulations.”
There is a clear legal necessity in the emirate of Abu Dhabi to have sufficient health insurance. However, in the other emirates such as Dubai, there exists a degree of confusion around the rules and how strictly they are enforced.
Dubai hasn’t followed Abu Dhabi’s strict insurance enforcement, some expats on extended work assignments in the emirates even claim to get by on holiday travel insurance. Though this won’t be enough in Abu Dhabi.
Matthew Aston goes on to emphasise the dangers, warning if expats arrive in the UAE or Australia without the health insurance as specified by strict visa requirements, they could well be turned away.
Of the 150,000 expats who leave the UK each year, many have inadequate or no health insurance. They assume foreign health services will treat them in an emergency, while it may be the case, it certainly isn’t the norm, and should not be relied upon.
For retirees and self-employed people moving abroad it pays to research the health system of the country they are moving to. Check what national health insurance is on offer and research private coverage options. For more information on healthcare abroad check Just Landed’s expat guides.