Citizens of Dubai and UAE in general, expats and tourists are still getting used to some new regulations and services that are being introduced into medical care system. Till some years ago it was possible to get in UAE holding only your Passport with Visa in it in your hands, but nowadays you are obliged to have health insurance too. UAE had to take that drastic measure concerning tourists and expats because the number of foreigners coming there is significantly rising day by day and it is only natural that more and more strangers need medical care on daily basis. It was so hard to organize some fair and consistent method of charging for medical care, so the only logical thing to do was to proclaim mandatory medical insurance for all.
There are still some cases when you will be able to receive some medical help free of charges. It usually happens when you get in life danger or when it is about child needing a doctor. Many people testified about being in a car crash, surviving heart attack, falling from a bridges, almost drowned, even got overdosed by alcohol or drugs and still got free medical care after Ambulance took care of them, even if they did have medical insurance paper on them. When it comes to children – situation is even less according to rules because kids are our future and almost all emergencies including a child that occur on the streets, see or desert around Dubai go without having to pay for it. Some other situations like going to the dentist, or taking care about some injuries that occurred before coming to Dubai will surely be charged for.
All of the public hospitals will give you free emergency care; only few of them will send you the bill at your house address later, but that goes only for those cases when some very expensive medications had to be given to the patient or in case extremely complicated surgery had to be done. There were also cases of pregnant woman coming in Dubai as tourists without knowing that they were pregnant, so they were given free first ultrasound examination. You are also likely to get free medical help at the airport if something, anything, happens to you. Airports have doctors and medical stations where you can check your blood pressure or sugar level if necessary.
All that being said-we can conclude that it is much better to prevent than to cure, meaning that you should ask your local tourist agency or embassy when you apply for visa to help you get the medical insurance and to explain to you what kind of insurances there are. Doctors and nurses everywhere are humanitarians for sure, but they are also working people, like you and me, and they do expect to get paid for their services. Just go get your medical and don’t count on that that you will be lucky enough to run onto very kind doctor who will fix your ankle or scratch for free.