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Mandatory health insurance Dubai

November 2, 2017

With almost 90% of Dubai’s residents from overseas, health insurance has long been a hot topic in the Emirate. While most reputable employers have always provided expat employees with health insurance as part of their benefits package, since 2014 it has been mandatory to do so.

The mandatory health insurance Dubai rollout happened in three phases. First applying only to companies with 1,000 or more employees, then to those employing between 100 and 999, before finally encompassing businesses with less than 100 employees, along with domestic workers and dependants.

This final phase, which came into account in mid-2016 essentially made it a legal requirement for everyone living in the UAE to have adequate health cover – employers must cover their employees and individuals must cover any dependants and domestic staff.

Mandatory health insurance Dubai – what is adequate cover?

When it announced the rollout of mandatory health insurance, The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) set out clear guidelines for the minimum level of cover permitted. This policy is known as the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP), and all employers are required to provide it at the very least to their staff. The same level of cover must be provided by individuals to their domestic staff and dependants.
EBP policies include cover for emergency treatment, surgery, medical tests, medication, both outpatient and inpatient treatment, and emergency care. However, EBP does have its limitations, including:

  • Capped annual claims at AED 150,000
  • Access only to basic healthcare services in Dubai
  • No cover for chronic and pre-existing conditions within the first six months
  • A 20% co-insurance payable on the policy for inpatient treatments
  • A 30% co-insurance payable on the policy for medication up to an annual limit of AED 1,500

Is basic cover right for me?

Basic medical cover is a good start, but it is unlikely to offer the protection most people desire. Basic policies require the insured to contribute towards most treatments, meaning they do not offer the full peace of mind of comprehensive medical insurance.

With mandatory health insurance in place in Dubai, you are going to have to pay towards your cover, so you ideally want to pay for a policy that covers every eventuality, not just the bare minimum. This is particularly true for employers. Should your staff suffer from illness or injury that they are not insured for, not only will they suffer a financial consequence, but they may not be able to treat it in the most efficient manner, leading to a longer period away from work.

With mandatory health insurance in place throughout Dubai and much of the UAE, it can be tempting to seek the cheapest possible option. However, such cheap policies can end up costing more, for both your business and its employees, in the long run.

Employers: Why give staff the best available cover?

With mandatory health insurance in place throughout Dubai and much of the UAE, it can be tempting to seek the cheapest possible option. However, such cheap policies can end up costing more, for both your business and its employees, in the long run.

Once you have factored in any additional payments required for certain procedures outside the basic policy, added extra premiums for dependants, and considered the potential impact of treatment delays caused by inadequate cover, a more enhanced package becomes the logical choice. With healthcare costs on the rise in the UAE, a comprehensive health insurance package is a must.

The consequences of no health insurance

 Thanks to mandatory health insurance Dubai, having no cover is simply not an option. Not only are you opening yourself, or your employees up to a litany of complications – both in terms of health and finances – but with inadequate cover, you’re also breaking the law.

Any Dubai resident found without adequate health cover may be subject to a fine of AED 500 per month. And that’s not all, you could find yourself without a visa if you are not properly covered. Your level of health insurance will be checked when you come to apply for your visa and it is likely to be rejected if you have failed to comply with Dubai’s mandatory health insurance laws.

 Person signing up for mandatory health insurance.

Which plan is right for me?

Finding the right health insurance package for you and your employees doesn’t need to be complex. Simply decide on the level of cover you need and set about finding a policy that fits the bill.

When making your decision, try to avoid seeking out the lowest possible level of cover and instead look for a package that offers full peace of mind and covers you for every eventuality – at a price you can afford.

There are many packages available for employees, dependants, and domestic staff that cover everything from the basics such as GP visits and emergency treatment, through to enhanced cover for cosmetic procedures, dental care and non-emergency surgery. It is just a case of finding a package that’s right for you – rather than simply ticking the box of having health insurance.

Why choose Lifecare?

Why choose Lifecare for your health insurance?  Quite simply, because we’re not like the rest. We understand that life is full of risks – and unexpected events can dramatically impact our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

That’s why, while our insurance products won’t protect you from unexpected events, they will protect you from financial loss.

At Lifecare, we help you choose the types of risks you wish to cover, by choosing the right kind of policy, and with the benefits you most need.