The mandatory health insurance is also linked to the visa, and every expatriate’s residence or work visa renewal would require him or her to be covered by health insurance. Picture used for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: AHMED RAMZAN/Gulf News

Dubai: A new law has made health insurance coverage compulsory for every resident in Dubai starting next year. 

Presently only a million residents are covered out of the more than three million residents in Dubai.

Officials from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said many blue-collar workers are not covered and this new law will ensure that everyone has access to essential health services. 

“The law is fundamental to ensure smooth delivery of basic health insurance to everyone living in the emirate, which means over three million people, which includes nationals (Emiratis) and residents with Dubai visas,” said Eisa Al Maidoor, director general of the DHA. He unveiled the law on Tuesday to the media. The Health Insurance Law was approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Officials said the insurance scheme will start to roll out next year and will be completed by 2016. Many blue collar workers and many spouses of expatriates presently do not have health cover. When it goes into force, the new law will ensure that no work or residence visa  would be renewed without a health insurance cover. 

An expatriate will pay for the coverage of his spouse  and  children. But  Haidar Al Yousuf, director of health funding at the DHA, said the Authority is working with insurance companies for inexpensive basic coverage plans. The basic package would cost Dh600 for a year, he said.