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Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced that it has added three more health insurance companies to provide the Essential Benefits Plan insurance package, fixed between Dh550 to Dh650, so that those with salaries under Dh4,000 receive adequate cover. 

By adding the Noor Takaful Insurance, Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company and Union Insurance, DHA is raising the number of insurance companies providing the essential benefits plan package from nine to 12 companies. 

The Dubai Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 was adopted under the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. According to the Dubai Health Insurance Law that came into effect in January 2014, the legal liability for every sponsor is to provide an essential benefits plan insurance package — fixed between Dh550 and Dh650. The three additional companies were chosen out of 10 companies that applied, after meeting the required criteria put by the DHA.

The required criteria includes a technical data study, the results of their performance in an electronic system, the ability of the insurance company to provide a quality insurance package with the proposed price and the mechanisms proposed by the company to get to all members of the community— especially those with limited income.

Humaid Al Qatami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the DHA, reaffirmed that the authority is keen on raising the quality level of its services through its health insurance system Ishad (Happiness). All health insurance companies must be committed to protecting members of society by providing them with quality healthcare services. 

Al Qatami said that providing a healthcare system that is on par with international standards is in line with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad of raising Dubai to number one status, in all fields — especially in the health sector. 
He explained that creating such an advanced healthcare system could not have been possible without the support of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance and President of DHA. 

Al Qatami said that the DHA continues to make notable strides in meeting the Dubai Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 as it has succeeded in covering 98 per cent — more than four million — Dubai residents in the Dubai health Insurance scheme. There are now 50 insurance companies and Takaful that provide health insurance in Dubai through Ishad. 

Dr Haidar Al Yousef, Director of Health Funding at DHA, said that the essential benefits plan package covers many services that include maternity, emergency, medical tests, referrals, medication etc. He added that the essential benefits plan package ranges from Dh550 to Dh650 per year with an average of Dh584, 5 per cent less than the average last year. 

Meanwhile, the family packages start from Dh650 and the elderly packages start from Dh2,500 per year. 

Al Yousef advised those wishing to seek health insurance to read the health insurance policy and learn about the clinics covered in order to benefit from the insurance as much as possible. 

Earlier last month, the Dubai Government announced that all employees and sponsors will have to pay fines if they fail to provide insurance to employees by March 31, 2017 and coverage for visitors by December 31, 2017 as per a new resolution no (6) 2017 issued by the Dubai Executive Council. 

It has been endorsed by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad. This announcement will ensure that the remaining two per cent expatriates also get the cover before the stipulated date or face the consequences. The resolution, however, gives authority to Al Qatami to extend this deadline if required. It also stipulates that the health insurance requirements should include the provision of an essential health insurance plan approved by the DHA. The health insurance card must be issued by an approved entity and the insurance policy must adhere to the relevant bylaws.

Deadline for Phase 1 that covered companies with 1,000 or more employees, ended on October 31, 2014. Similarly, the deadline for Phase 2 covering all companies with 100-999 employees ended on July 31, 2015. Phase 3 that was covering companies with 100 or less employees and includes every resident, including domestic workers and dependents of employees, ended on June 30, 2016. 

However, owing to delays and massive number of applications, the deadline was extended up to December 2016. The new deadline issued by the Executive Council Resolution stipulates that all residents must have health insurance cover by March 31, 2017.