Health insurance reform and the development of health insurance plans: The case of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, UAE

Samer Hamidi, Sami Shaban, Ashraf A. Mahate, Mustafa Z. Younis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has taken concrete steps to reform health insurance by improving the access to health providers as well as freedom of choice. The growing cost of health care and the impact of the global financial crisis have meant that countries are no longer able to solely bear the cost. As a result many countries have sought to overhaul their health care system so as to share the burden of provision with the private sector whether it is health care plan providers or employers. Objectives: This article explores and discusses how the policy issues inherent in private health care schemes have been dealt with by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Methods: Data was collected in early 2013 on health care plans in Abu Dhabi from government sources. Results: The Abu Dhabi model has private sector involvement but the government sets prices and benefits. The Abu Dhabi model adequately deals with the problem of adverse selection through making insurance coverage a mandatory requirement. There are issues with moral hazards, which are a combination of individual and medical practitioner behavior that might affect the efficiency of the system. Over time there is a general increase in the usage of medical services, which may be reflective of greater awareness of the policy and its benefits as well as lifestyle change. Conclusion: Although the current health care system level of usage is adequate for the current population, as the level of usage increases, the government may face a financial burden. Therefore, the government needs to place safeguards in order to limit its exposure. The market for medical treatment needs to be made more competitive to reduce monopolistic behavior. The government needs to make individuals aware of a healthier lifestyle and encourage precautionary actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-66
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Health Care Finance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Abu Dhabi UAE
  • Health finance
  • Health insurance
  • Health plan
  • Health system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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