Deadlines for mandatory Dubai health insurance - Emirates24|7

Deadlines for mandatory Dubai health insurance

The Dubai Health Authority announced today, during a meeting with insurance companies, the roll out plan for the mandatory health insurance scheme for the emirate of Dubai.

The meeting took place at the Rashid Medical Library Auditorium and was attended by the top management of  insurance companies in the UAE and abroad.

The DHA discussed both the roll out process and the procedure for procuring a health insurance permit, which is mandatory for all those companies that want to provide health insurance services in Dubai.

Essa Al Maidoor, director-general of the DHA, said: “The health insurance mandate will provide a significant boost to the health insurance industry, it will attract investment in the health care sector and will generate healthy competition between providers as well as health facilities. This only means further improvement in the quality of health services as well as more health care options and competitive premium prices. The mandate will benefit all the concerned stakeholders- this includes insurance providers, health care facilities and most importantly patients.

“Our aim is to provide everyone in Dubai with access to essential health cover and to empower them by providing them with the right to choose their health provider within the private or public sector.”

All healthcare providers will need to obtain a health insurance permit so that they are eligible to provide insurance cover in Dubai.

Al Maidoor said: “In order to ensure we have the very best insurance companies on board, the DHA has laid out a set of criterions that all insurance companies need to adhere to, so that they are eligible to receive a health insurance permit, which is mandatory for companies that want to provide a health cover to anyone in Dubai.”

Dr Haider Al Yousuf, director of health funding, said: “Insurance companies interested in providing the essential health benefits(EHB) package to  resident employees with salaries below Dh4,000 will have to undergo further qualifying criteria to  ascertain their ability to provide an insurance package at an affordable rate. The premium for this package will range between Dh500 to Dh700 per person per year.”

He added that the package will cover all essential health services.

“This package will cover emergency care, access to general physician (GP)/family physicians, referral to specialists, tests and investigations, surgical procedures and maternity care.  All the necessary health requirements will be covered by this package. Therefore, once the mandatory health insurance is rolled out, people across the board, will see the immediate benefits of the system.”

Al Yousuf said that for employers, this will provide minimum impact to them in terms of cost.

“On an average, health insurance costs 1.5 per cent of the monthly salary. For example, if an employer pays Dh 10,000 per month in salaries, if he adds Dh150 per month, it covers the cost of health insurance. This is a minimum impact, adequate benefit plan; clearly the benefits outweigh the minimum costs involved. The scheme protects both employers and employees from unforeseen health care costs that can arise out of an illness or an emergency.”

He said that as per the law, companies are liable to cover their employees only but the DHA strongly encourages companies to cover the dependents of their employees as well. “It is a known fact that covering dependents of employees  directly leads to greater employee satisfaction and better productivity.”

In terms of the roll-out, Al Yousuf said: “Companies with 1,000 or more employees will have to cover their staff before the end of October 2014. 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 said the process of obtaining a health insurance permit began in October this year and will be completed by January 2014. The DHA will announce a list of the companies that have obtained these permits.

Those who already have the permit will start providing insurance within the next few weeks.  Al Yousuf said: “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.”

EHB covers:

•       Access to general physician/ family physician.

•       Referral to specialists:

•       Surgical procedures:

•       Laboratory services: Tests and investigations provided to help a doctor diagnose an injury, illness or condition, or to monitor the effectiveness of a particular treatment.

•       Emergency services: Medical attention required for conditions that could lead to serious disability or death if not treated immediately, such as accidents or sudden illness. Prior authorization is not required for such cases.

•       Maternity care –Medical care that women receive during pregnancy (prenatal care), throughout labor, delivery and post-delivery.

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