Dubai health cover: Time out for large firms

Companies with more than 1,000 staff must have health insurance in place by the end of week

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

This means that by the end of this week, approximately 700,000 employees should be provided with health insurance meeting at least the minimum requirements.

“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,” said Essa Al Maidoor, Director-General, Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

The mandatory health insurance law, which came into effect in February this year, is to ensure that every national, resident and visitor in Dubai has essential health insurance coverage and access to essential health services.

“So far, we are pleased with the results of the rollout 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,” al Maidoor added.

Soon after the deadline has been reached, the DHA will evaluate the extent of compliance and employers who are not insuring their workers are at risk of facing fines,” said Haider Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at the DHA.

The DHA will use direct electronic links with relevant government stakeholders to enforce the law, and insurance will be linked to the residency visa, also in the free zones.

“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,” commented Al Yousuf.

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 several companies have been providing such benefits for family members of employees.

The next batch will include companies with 100 to 999 employees, who will have until the end of July 2015 to comply with the law. Companies below 100 employees and all spouses, dependents and domestic workers have until the end of June 2016 to be covered by health insurance.


The minimum requirements are for every person in Dubai to be insured by at least a basic health insurance.

For resident employees with a salary of Dh4,000 or less, the essential health benefits (EHB) package has been designed. The premium for this package ranges between Dh500 and Dh700 per person per year and covers essential health services, such as emergency care, access to general physician (GP)/family physicians, referral to specialists, tests and investigations, surgical procedures and maternity care.

Although any person could avail the EHB package albeit at a higher price, packages are designed for every walk of life by the approved health insurance companies, which have had to apply with a number of newly imposed standards.

UAE nationals will receive insurance cards to replace the existing DHA health cards that provide coverage for healthcare services and preventive care. They will continue to have access to all current healthcare services provided by the DHA and various private healthcare providers.

Visitors to the UAE will be required to purchase a health insurance package prior to or upon arrival in Dubai.

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)

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