An expat's guide to the health insurance system in Dubai

Contributed by Pacific Prime, 23 March, 2017

To better make an informed decision on your health insurance as an expat moving abroad, it's important to consider your destination country's local regulations and their implications. For those moving to or living in Dubai, this means having a full understanding of Dubai's mandatory health insurance law, and what this means for you. This guide by global insurance broker UAE Medical Insurance covers everything expats will need to know about the situation of health insurance in Dubai, and its implications for expats moving here.

The state of health insurance in Dubai

Dubai's mandatory health insurance system is named ISAHD (Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai), which means 'bringing happiness' in Arabic. It was introduced by the government of Dubai and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to create an integrated healthcare system for the UAE's second largest emirate. The Mandatory Health Insurance Law No 11 was implemented in three stages:

As of now, a whopping 98% of Dubai's residents, including their family members and domestic staff, now have mandatory health insurance that meets the minimum level of cover set out by the DHA.

Covering dependents

Unlike Abu Dhabi's health insurance system which requires employers to provide health insurance for their employees' dependents, in Dubai cover for resident dependents are the responsibility of the employees themselves. This means that all sponsors must provide health insurance for their resident dependants, including their spouse, dependent children, and domestic workers (drivers, housekeepers, maids, nannies).

What is the minimum level of cover?

The final wave of mandatory health insurance law has mandated that all individuals must have health insurance that meets the following minimum coverage requirements:

What happens if you don't secure health insurance?

On February 19, 2017, the Dubai Government said in a statement that those who fail to comply to the mandatory health insurance law by the extended deadline on March 31 will start to face fines. Not only that, but Dubai won't issue visas for expats who don't have health insurance, nor will they renew their existing visas.

What are the fines?

Employers or sponsors who have failed to provide health insurance will have a Dh 500 fine levied against them for every month that they do not comply to the mandatory health insurance law. However, the imposition of fines for domestic workers will be delayed until the start of 2018. It's important to point out here that paying for the fines can cost a lot more than simply paying for health insurance, as the annual cost for plans that meet the minimum level of cover can be as low as Dh 550.

What about top up insurance?

It's important to know exactly what's covered in your health insurance plan, as sometimes coverage can be skimpy. If your employer has provided you with a plan that doesn't go far above the minimum level of cover mandated by the DHA, you may want to consider purchasing a top up insurance plan to make up for the gaps in coverage on your current health plan. For example, you may want to include add-on benefits such as dental or vision care, as the cost for these types of treatment can be sky high in Dubai. Lastly, it can also pay to talk to an experienced insurance broker like UAE Medical Insurance for impartial advice on your specific health insurance needs.

Tags: Healthcare | Health Insurance | Healthcare | individuals | employees | Insurance | Dubai | regulation | law | insurance |



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