Dubai now has a legislative mandate in place that requires employers to be health insured by their employees by law. Originally set for 30 June 2016, and then extended to 31 December 2016, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has now announced a period of reprieve for sponsors yet to obtain mandatory health insurance for dependants and employees and is expected to announce the final deadline in early 2017.
The Dubai Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 came into effect in January 2014 stipulating that all nationals and residents with a Dubai visa should have compulsory health insurance cover.
Phase one covering companies with 1,000 or more employees ended on 31 October 2014. Second phase impacted organisations employing between 100 and 999 personnel and ended on 31 July 2015. Phase three, which is awaiting final deadline announcement from the DHA, covers companies with 100 or less employees, including domestic staff and dependants, who have to have cover by the yet unspecified date.
According to the DHA, less than 2% of residents of Dubai are yet to be covered. Those who fail to comply by the deadline will face problems with applying for visas for new employees and getting existing ones renewed.
The onus for ensuring the health insurance laws are carried out falls resolutely on the company. Sponsors have to prove to the DHA that they have provided cover for their employees or risk a minimum fine of AED 10,000 for each worker without insurance. There are a number of regulations in place in Dubai to ensure companies adhere to these policies.
There are many different packages and health insurance options available to employers, with different benefits options and pricing. A list of approved insurance providers can be found on the DHA website on www.ishad.ae.
Employers can choose the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP), which is a standardised package available to employers having more than 1,000 resident employees with salaries below AED 4,000, and priced at between AED 650 and AED 725 per annum. The objective of EBP is to provide adequate cover at a reasonable cost to employers.
Some insurance providers already estimate that total medical insurance premium in Dubai is expected to continue to grow over the next five years, which is worrying for employers because ultimately this will mean they have to pay out more for their employees. According to global health insurance broker Pacific Prime, medical inflation in the UAE was 9.5% in 2015.
According to Anglo Arabian Healthcare, an employer looking to purchase health insurance should be targeting the correct healthcare for employees and be satisfied that they have carried out due diligence on the options. The UAE-based healthcare provider encourages employers can research these options and try to establish a co-operative working arrangement with their insurer and/or broker (or both) to implement a three to five-year plan that gives a road-map to the improvement of their employees’ health and a general reduction in the annual cost of healthcare.
Despite increasing pressure for mandatory health insurance to be rolled out across the UAE, as there is in Dubai and the country’s capital, Abu Dhabi, this is yet to be rolled out across the Northern Emirates of Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras-Al Khaima and Fujairah.
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