For some time now, UAE employers and sponsors have been obliged by law to provide health insurance to employees and their families. Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is now in the third and final phase of implementing the rule and have all Emirate residents (to include all employees and their families) covered by health insurance. This change in health regulations requires to be enrolled in a basic medical plan where everyone will have access to care. This follows in the footsteps of Abu Dhabi which implemented its mandatory healthcare initiative in 2006.
The Dubai mandatory health Insurance initiative began the first phase in 2014 by targeting companies with 1,000-plus employees; then, the second phase, which included companies with 999 to 100 employees, was carried forward in 2015. In 2016 companies with less than 100 staffs, including domestic workers, were involved.
Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) mandatory health insurance is requiring all Emiratis and expats, including dependents of visa holders (as well as domestic workers such as housemaids, drivers, cooks, nannies and gardeners) to have insurance in place to pay for their emergency and curative healthcare needs, informs The National; there will be no further extensions to be given and penalties will be given from the end of this year, a top Dubai Health Authority (DHA) official has said, noting this is in line with the Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 to ensure people are protected with a maximum insurance coverage to have access to health care.
Dr Yousuf advised people to look at all insurance companies licensed by DHA through www.isahd.ae and choose their best options from participating insurers for cost-effective healthcare packages that deliver good quality of care and that must cover levels equal to the minimum guidelines set out by the DHA.
As told The National, “The law mandates health insurance for everyone, the responsibility for providing the insurance lays with the employers first, and for those who don’t have employers, it lays with the sponsor.”
Dr. Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of Public Health Funding at DHA, said that a great percentage of Dubai expatriates are now covered by the insurance, thanks to the mandatory health insurance, as told Emirates News Agency WAM. Over 85 per cent of the target population in Dubai (i.e., residents and visa holders) has already the medical insurance, but a small percentage remains without health coverage; this is a major concern for the authority. Over the next month, the remaining small percentage need to have the insurance or risk their employees or sponsors being held liable to penalties after that.
The push for Dubai’s Mandatory Health Insurance, for access to affordable health care options builds on the available Essential Benefits Plan launched in 2014. Regardless of salary earned, a payment option is also provided for the cost of annual premiums with a health insurer through reputed medical networks at select healthcare facilities that permit access to good health care.
Attention Dubai Expats: It may be in one’s best interest to organize expat health insurance prior to your departure, advises expathealth.org. It is also advisable to apply for a health card (apply via DHA eServices with a user account) which entitles them as residents to low cost medical treatment at public hospitals and clinics. It is necessary to have a health card in Dubai in order to be registered with DHA hospitals. The card is valid for only a year and can be renewed online.
So how is this going to affect the average employee? Dr Yousuf said it is the responsibility of the employee if his employer doesn’t provide insurance to him- or herself and his/her dependents (wife, husband, children) to purchase insurance for them—i.e., to pay the premiums directly to the insurer to be covered on a policy.
Going forward, the DHA asks people to look now at participating insurance companies that are licensed in the UAE by the Federal Insurance Authority for competitive and affordable packages to employers, sponsors and individuals.
For more information, please visit the Dubai Health Authority.