Dubai: With over 75 per cent of Dubai’s expatriates already benefiting from the mandatory health insurance, which began coming into effect in phases starting January 2014, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced that it is on the verge of fully implementing Dubai’s mandatory health insurance scheme ISAHD (Bringing Happiness) by the end of June.
DHA is currently in the third and final phase of implementing the scheme on companies with less than 100 employees — including all spouses, dependants and domestic workers
Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, director of Public Health Funding at DHA, said: “We have 25 per cent of Dubai’s residents left to cover by June, we hope to have close to 100 per cent covered by the insurance by the end of next month.”
He added that the implementation of the scheme — to have all Dubai residents covered by health insurance — is going according to the adopted time frame. Dr Al Yousuf said that linking the health insurance scheme to visa issuance and renewal in partnership with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) contributed to the success of the implementation process.
Dr Al Yousuf called on all companies to insure their employees before the end of June, to avoid penalties.
DHA has completed the first phase that included companies with more than 1,000 employees in 2014 and the second phase, which included companies with 999 to 100 employees, in 2015.
Companies can get the health insurance packages that are in line with the scheme from the 46 health insurance companies permitted by DHA, which includes nine companies that provide the essential benefits package. Dr Al Yousuf added that many of these companies now provide competitive and affordable packages to employers, sponsors and individuals.
Employers are required to put in place health cover for their staff that meets the minimum requirements of the law. The law stipulates that employers cannot simply pass on the cost of the cover to their staff, and the DHA has made clear that it will treat any attempts to do so seriously. As a means of ensuring cover is put in place and maintained, the renewal of an employee’s visa will be subject to the employee having health insurance in place. Employers have to provide a basic health coverage with an annual premium anywhere between Dh500-Dh700 and a maximum insurance cover per person per annum of Dh150,000.
Dubai’s health insurance rules do not require employers to provide coverage for the dependants of their employees, whereas this is the case in Abu Dhabi. The reasoning behind this is that by making family cover compulsory, companies could be biased towards hiring single executives to save costs which could, in turn, shift the balance of Dubai’s demographic make-up away from its current family-orientated focus.
Instead, cover for dependants falls on the sponsor themselves. So where a dependant does not receive cover from an employer, it becomes the responsibility of the sponsor to put in place and maintain the required cover (though this does not apply until July).
Failure by employers to provide insurance carries fines of between Dh500 and Dh150,000. Repeated breaches carry a maximum fine of Dh500,000.
All information related to insurance can be found at www.Isahd.ae and many packages feature on the ISAHD community marketplace www.community.isahd.ae