There is currently (2014-2016) a big healthcare reform underway in Dubai, which should result in a system where employers will be required by law to provide basic health coverage to their expat employees. A similar system is already in place in Abu Dhabi and had been planned for Dubai several years ago, but the reform was delayed following the financial crisis, as it was feared that the new requirements would negatively affect business activity and the economy.
That said, regardless of the reform, it has been quite common for years (in the white collar sector at least) for employers to offer some kind of health insurance to their expat employees as part of their employment benefits. However, the scope and conditions vary – while some employers provide only a very basic health insurance package, others are more generous and may also include coverage for your spouse and children. Generally, the higher your position and the bigger the company, the more likely you are to get better health coverage. Remember to ask and discuss health insurance as part of your interview or salary negotiation.
If your employer does not offer health insurance or if (following the reform) your employer-provided coverage is insufficient, make sure you get commercial health insurance for yourself and your family. Although healthcare is very expensive in Dubai and the cost of insurance plans reflects that, there are always some great deals if you know where to look or spend some time to shop around.
The market is extremely competitive in Dubai, with plenty of insurance companies to choose from, including the big global players. If you are new to Dubai, you may want to ask your colleagues, your financial advisor or someone with more experience in the area.