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Dubai: Health insurance is mandatory in Dubai and companies offer coverage to their employees when the work visa is issued. However, are they obliged to provide health coverage for the employee’s family as well? Also, is there an age limit for children to receive coverage from their parent’s employer? These were the questions raised by a Gulf News reader.

She said: “Being a new employee in Dubai, I wanted to enquire about the Labour Law for working mums who have sons above the age of 18 years. My company refused to cover the health insurance for my son, who is 19 years old and studying at a UAE university, saying that the laws do not mandate that they cover him. They had done it as an exception only for a year, although nothing was mentioned in my contract in this regard. The human resources department insists that this is the standard operating procedure followed by companies. Can you please confirm this? I used to work for the same company back home and they covered all my sons, without any exceptions, which is why I am confused.”

Gulf News raised the query with Nexus Group, which is a UAE-based insurance provider. Anthony Cerchiai, Head of General Insurance at the organisation spoke about what the law states in terms of providing coverage for the dependents of an employee in Dubai.

“At the moment, in Dubai, the law states that the person sponsoring must provide the dependents with medical insurance. Therefore, the employer is required to provide medical insurance for the employee, and a sponsor is required to provide medical insurance for family members under their sponsorship,” he said.

“The employer may choose to cover an employees’ full family but is not legally obliged to do so,” he added.

Is health insurance mandatory in the UAE?

Based on the emirate you are in, health insurance is either mandatory or optional. Abu Dhabi and Dubai have mandatory health insurance requirements. However, even in the emirates where health insurance is optional, it is advisable to get yourself covered as healthcare costs can become a significant financial burden in emergencies or chronic conditions. Read our detailed guide on how to get health insurance in the UAE here.