While the deadline for the mandatory Dubai health insurance plan is June 30th, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) confirmed that penalties will not immediately be imposed on individual sponsors who fail to insure themselves, employees and dependents.
Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at DHA revealed that individuals will be given a grace period until the end of the year to get themselves and those they are sponsoring insured.
“Individuals, their families and their employees—such as maids, cooks etc…— will be given a grace period until the end of the year. We urge everyone to abide by the law, which aims to protect not only their dependents but also the sponsors,” he said during a press conference on Thursday.
According to the Dubai Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 that came into effect in January 2014, the legal liability for every sponsor is to provide an essential insurance package— fixed between Dh550 and Dh700— so that those with salaries under Dh4,000 receive adequate cover.
Starting next week, Al Yousuf said the DHA will be organising workshops and road shows, where companies who have been shortlisted to provide the basic insurance package will be invited to meet the public to ease the insurance process further.
Al Yousuf said there has been many cases where a maid or a labourer of an individual sponsor suddenly fell ill and required immediate surgery and the sponsor found himself in a position where he has to pay hundreds of thousands because their employee is not insured.
“Having your dependents insured will not only protect and save their life in the case where they might need urgent medical intervention; it also protects the sponsor. If the sponsor insures the employee they will only have to pay around Dh500 to get him/her medically covered for a whole year. However if their employee was not insured and suddenly entered the ICU and required surgery, the employee will have to cover the medical costs, which can reach up to hundreds of thousands of dirhams.”
In fact, Al Yousuf said a study found that the cost of the essential benefits package is less than 1.5 per cent of employees’ monthly salary on average.
Due to the affordable essential benefit package (which ranges from Dh550 to 700 and is designed to ensures maternity, emergency, specialist referrals etc), there has been high demands from individuals outside the emirate to purchase it.
“Yes, individuals and companies from outside the emirate can take advantage of the mandatory health insurance as well,” Al Yousuf confirmed.
Employers can do so by visiting www.isahd.ae or visiting sales centers of the insurance companies. The employer information pack is available on: http://www.isahd.ae/content/docs/Employer%20information%20pack%20v4.4%20011014%20(1).pdf
Approximately 3.8 million people are on Dubai Residence visa. Around 75% of the Dubai population already have Dubai Visas that have mandatory health insurance and it is expected that almost 95 per cent of resident with Dubai visas will have to come under the mandatory health insurance cover.
The mandatory insurance plan is currently in its third phase, which covers companies with 100 or less employees and includes every resident, including domestic workers and dependents of employees.
Al Yousuf revealed that 30 to 40 per cent of those who fall under the third phase have already been covered.
DHA shortlisted companies to provide the Essential Benefit Package for anyone who earns less than Dh4, 000.
“Insurance companies that fail to adhere to the guidelines will face fines to the tune of Dh 150,000 and the maximum fine in case of repeat offences can go up to Dh500,000.”
Penalties will be for offences such as breach of confidentiality, refusal to provide insurance on invalid grounds etc.
Employers can find all the information they need in an Employer Information Pack downloadable from www.isahd.ae, the website dedicated to providing information on implementation of the Law.