Complex Made Simple

Dubai employers progress to comply with health insurance law

The implementation of the Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 passed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai is ongoing and the first phase will come to a close by the end of this month.

By 31st October 2014, all employers with more than 1,000 employees on their sponsorship must have health insurance in place for their workers.

HE Eng. Essa Al Maidoor, Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “This is a major milestone in ensuring access to healthcare. 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 the deadline, however there are still some employers who have not yet met the deadline and we urge them to act promptly.”

Al Maidoor said that soon 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.”

He added that the implementation of the law, which came into effect in mid-February 2014, aims to enhance the competitiveness of Dubai regionally and globally and is in line with Dubai’s quest to be a leader in all fields.

“The implementation of the mandatory health insurance law has multiple benefits. First and foremost, it provides everyone in Dubai – citizens, residents and visitors – with universal access to health care. The implementation also helps contribute to building a robust health system that is flexible and financially sustainable. Mandatory health insurance is a tool of sustainability of the health sector in Dubai, it helps promote healthcare investment, leads to positive competition between health players; which benefits patients and helps boost medical tourism.”

Dr Haider Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at the DHA, said: ” The 44 insurance companies that have Dubai Health Insurance Permits have witnessed substantial queries from phase one employers as well as other employers requesting for quotations for insurance packages that are compatible with the law for all of their employees.

“We will soon begin to review the extent of compliance and those employers who are not insuring their workers could face fines.”

He added that while it is not mandatory as per the law for employers to provide cover for the dependents of their employees, the DHA strongly encourages employers to do so and in fact several companies have been providing such benefits for family members of employees.

He said that the roll-out will continue to take place in phases: “Companies with 100 to 999 employees will have until the end of July 2015 and companies below 100 employees have until end of June 2016 to cover their employees. All spouses, dependents and domestic workers will also have to be covered by June 2016. They can start providing cover earlier, however, these dates are deadlines they must meet.”

He added: “Over the next two years, we will begin to see the immediate benefits of the mandatory health insurance scheme as and when its phased roll out takes place.”