Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Insurance Cover mandatory from June 30th 2016 in Dubai for spouses, elderly parents

Dubai: Under Dubai’s mandatory health insurance law which makes it mandatory for residents to have health insurance cover by June 30, the sponsors of residents found without an insurance during visa renewal will have to pay fines after the deadline ends.
This means sponsors of spouses, elderly parents and special needs children must obtain insurance cover for dependants even if the visa is not due for renewal before June 30, a senior official said on Wednesday Gulf news interview  on the sidelines of Arab Health 2016, Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of Public Health Funding at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said: “Under this law, first there is a legal requirement for every Dubai resident to get covered. The second aspect is to establish who is legally responsible to provide the cover. In case of employers it is simple, but in case of spouses, elderly parents, special needs children, housemaids and house boys, it is the legal responsibility of the individual who is sponsoring their visa.
So, if an elderly family member’s visa, for instance, is being renewed in May this year, even though the deadline for insurance is June 30, and the visa renewal will not require insurance prerequisite now, it is important the sponsor gets the cover done. The visa is only a check-up mechanism, but the sponsor will be held legally liable in case he violates the law and will have to pay the fine in retrospect from June 30, 2016 when the visa of the dependant comes up for renewal.”

The penalties are in final stages of deliberation and therefore the amount could not be disclosed, he said, adding that the DHA is going to launch a public awareness campaign soon to educate individuals about compliance with the law and the penalties of not doing so, added Dr Al Yousuf.

Right now, insurance premiums for the elderly are very high and packages range from Dh12,000 to Dh30,000 per year and are a major deterrent for expatriate residents whose parents live with them.

Dr Al Yousuf said this could change if all the elderly came under the purview of health insurance. “Right now only those with major health issues are opting for health insurance. The risk profile for the elderly therefore is very high and therefore the high premiums. But when everyone pays premiums and has a cover, not everyone is going to use the health services every day; there might be healthy elderly people with routine issues bringing down the risk liability and lowering the premium,” explained Dr Al Yousuf.

He advised residents to opt for basic packages for other categories which are in the range of Dh650-Dh700 per year. “For special needs children, care has a health and an educative component and therefore does not fall entirely under the purview of health insurance. So if they require physiotherapy or some medical intervention that could be covered under their insurance whereas other issues would fall in a different field," Al Yousuf said, drawing attention to the fact that insurance cover in any case was a required field.