A trip to the doctor costs six times more in the UAE than Oman, while a dentist visit is four times as much, according to a new report that found Bahrain had the GCC’s most pricey health insurance.
Cost of Living Reports Middle East (CLR) found a mid-level GP visit cost $78.5 on average in the UAE.
The second-most expensive country was Qatar at $54 per consultation at an internationally certified hospital, followed by Bahrain and Saudi Arabia ($27) and Kuwait ($26.5).
In Oman, a trip to the doctor costs on average only $13.
CLR said dentist visits were also most expensive in the UAE, at an average $108 for a routine check-up, while the same consultation cost an average $80 in Bahrain, $71 in Qatar and Kuwait, $41 in Saudi and $26 in Oman.
It said the UAE was by far the most expensive country for healthcare but it had “the biggest range though in terms of international hospitals and clinics in the Gulf”.
The report found while health insurance was paid by employers in all GCC countries, Oman was the only country yet to introduce a mandatory health insurance scheme.
CLR found average health insurance fees were highest in Bahrain at $2,312 for individual cover with a local provider, rising to $6,013 for family cover.
This was followed by the UAE ($1,418 and $5,400), Saudi ($1,350 and $4,590), Oman ($780 and $1,950), Qatar ($297 and $2,309) and Kuwait ($266 and $425).
Comparatively, worldwide insurance costs, according to BUPA Gold data, were $2,498 for a 10-year-old child, $5,310 for someone aged 30 and up to $15,500 for a person aged 60-65.
In a separate report on the UAE, CLR noted that UAE public spending on healthcare had increased to above the world average at about 75 percent of total spending in the sector.
It noted that over the next three years the healthcare sector was expected to grow by 16 percent annually, to AED43bn ($11.7bn).
A CLR survey showed that 87 percent of employees were insured in Dubai by employer-sponsored health insurance. Of the 13 percent not covered, 67 percent had purchased their own private insurance, with the remaining mostly semi-skilled workers who have no access to health insurance.