Wednesday, October 29, 2014

First phase of compulsory health insurance cover in Dubai effective from October 31 2014

The Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) first phase of compulsory health insurance cover effective October 31 will involve approximately 300 companies who employ 1,000 or more employees.

The first of four phases is expected to cover up to 700,000 employees, said authorities on Tuesday,

Non-compliance with the law will result in fines and penalties that will be levied on the erring companies who fail to pay the full cost of basic health insurance for each employee.

DHA Director-General Eisa Al Maidour said on Tuesday that the first phase of the roll-out will have far-reaching effects for workers who will now have basic health care.

“This is a major milestone in ensuring access to health care. This phase of implementation applies to approximately 700,000 employees in Dubai. By mid-2016, everyone in Dubai will have mandatory access to health insurance. So far, we are pleased with the results of the roll out and are thankful to all those employers who have supported us by adhering to the deadline. However, there are still some employers who have not yet met the deadline and we urge them to act promptly.”

The DHA director for Health Funding Dr Haidar Al Yousuf noted that the “legal requirement is for providing the basic insurance package that falls between Dh600-Dh700 annually. However, there are companies that are providing more than the basic package and also providing insurance cover for dependants. It’s a mixed bag,” he said.

Right now, the focus is the insurance cover for the employees. Having insurance cover for the dependants will be covered in Phase 3 of the implementation which falls in 2016. But the responsibility of providing insurance cover for dependants falls on the employee. DHA is working with insurance companies to provide reasonable cover for dependants, according to Dr Yousuf.

Providing information on how the law would be implemented, Al Maidour said that soon the DHA will use direct electronic links with relevant government stakeholders to enforce the law. “Health insurance will be linked to the residency visa in collaboration with the relevant authorities including free zones.”

In other words, no visas will be renewed without a valid insurance cover once the law comes into effect.