A much-awaited plan for mandatory health insurance in Dubai was finally announced yesterday.
Under the scheme, nationals, expatriates and visitors will all receive basic health insurance coverage.
All residents and expatriates will have to register with a primary healthcare centre of their choice.
Employers will be responsible for providing insurance cover to their employees. Where there is no employer, a resident of Dubai will be responsible for insuring dependents and those sponsored by them.
Employers will have to pay between Dh500 to Dh800 per person for cover. People who want to increase their cover will have an option to top-up their policy to include additional services.
The scheme will be rolled out in phases with the first phase due to begin on January 1 next year.
Mandatory health insurance is part of a wider shake-up of the healthcare system also announced yesterday.
Dubai Health Authority will remain responsible for policy and strategy, health regulation and public health, but there will be a new governmental regulatory body responsible for health service professionals in Dubai.
Qadhi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director General Dubai Health Authority, said: "A strong primary care system will help deliver better healthcare in Dubai. Patients are the core of the health insurance scheme and the mechanism is designed to provide high quality care for nationals and residents."
The health insurance scheme will create the same level playing field for both public and private health providers which is expected to stir up competition and improve the quality of healthcare in Dubai, said Al Murooshid.
"A dynamic and well regulated health sector is important to our future growth and prosperity. A happy and prosperous society is a health and productive one. What we hope is that there is a high quality, accessible and affordable healthcare system in place to look after us when we need it," he said.
A DHA spokesman said: "The payment is expected to increase year on, but along with it the services covered will also increase.
"By the end of the phased programme, we want the insurance scheme to be at par with developed countries and become a comprehensive coverage."