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The Public Healthcare services in the UAE are administered by various regulatory bodies which include the Ministry of Health, Health Authority Abu Dhabi, The Dubai Health Authority, and the Emirates Health Authority. The Ministry of Health was the responsible administrative body within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, before it was replaced by the Authority for Support and Development of Care (otherwise known as the GASDH). It was later modified to the Health Authority Abu Dhabi.
The individuals and organizations in the United Arab Emirates need to have a good understanding of the legal conditions that will be applicable in case they apply for health insurance. The UAE is moving towards a more elaborate health insurance system, and a federal law was drafted in the year 2013 towards this end. Insurance requirements would depend on the Emirate in which the individual resides in. Specifically, it is mandatory in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, while that is not the case in the other Emirates. The decision to implement the Dubai Health Insurance Law of 2013 was influenced by the Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai.
The year 2016 saw compulsory implementation of government backed medical coverage for all employees in small and medium enterprises as well as micro companies (defined as having less than 100 employees). As part of the procedure whereby standards were implemented, 44 insurance companies in the UAE were awarded Health Insurance Permits, and they were allowed to sell or administer a range of health insurance products in Dubai.
As per the labour laws in the UAE, you shall be entitled to a health card that will allow you access to a range of hospitals and clinics that constitute the Dubai Health Authority facilities. The Health Card is issued by the Dubai government which entitles the card holder to affordable medical treatment at the government hospitals in Dubai. These may include the likes of the Latifa Hospital, or the Baraha hospital and so on. It may also be produced for service at any of the clinics that are set up by the government.
The Health Insurance Law of Dubai no 11 is the relevant legal provision that shall be applicable on this matter. The regulation states clearly that the burden of providing for the health insurance shall fall upon the employing company, and not the employee. The employer shall be considered to be legally liable to cover for the employee, in due fulfilment of the regulation, and the beneficiary or the employee to isn’t financially responsible for the same. The coverage shall depend on the age of the client, and what treatments and other options they would like to avail of under the health insurance scheme.
The law also clarifies that the employer does not have the right to make deductions from the monthly salary of the employee, to fulfil their legal obligations. According to the Dubai Health Insurance Law no 11, every employer is legally liable to provide a mandatory insurance package, ranging from AED 550 to AED 700. The Dubai Health Authority have clarified that non-compliance to the Insurance Law will lead to imposition of back dated fines. The logic behind this imposition is that having your employees financially secured for health emergencies is in the self-interest of the employers themselves. As is evident from the amount specified in the law, shelling out a monthly amount of five to seven hundred dirhams is a relatively small investment to make. In case the worker or the employee was not insured, and they enter into a critical emergency or some health related issue, the employer might be faced with a responsibility which can amount to substantial hundreds of dirhams. In addition, employers are also required to cover employees who already have a policy through their spouse, parent or on their own.
The Health Insurance Law was implemented in phases across the year 2016, with the pre stated objective that all employees have a significant amount of coverage to protect them in the case of onset of any serious illnesses. The Dubai Multi Commodities Centre Free Zone was responsible for the rigorous implementation of this law across all corporate bodies. It was formulated in accordance with the common standards of the Essential Benefits Plan. Moreover, this coverage plan shall be mandatory for visa and ID card renewals. In compliance with the Essential Benefits Plan, the coverage of basic essentials shall be extendable to consultation at clinics, health cover for maternity cases, emergency visits to the hospital and so on.
Under the Thiqa program, the Abu Dhabi government provides fully applicable health insurance to all nationals residing in the UAE. The residents shall get access to a Thiqa card, through which they shall be entitled to numerous private and medical service providers. To be eligible for the Thiqa program, nationals living in the UAE need to go through a mandatory Weqaya screening.
For the case of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, monthly fines will be charged by the authority, in case the person is not in possession of the mandatory health insurance, or at least is not able to furnish a proof of the same. The fine that is applicable in Abu Dhabi is an amount of AED 300 per month. Conversely, in Dubai, this shall be at an amount of AED 500 per month, and the government can refuse to reissue new visas or grant resident status without proof of the appropriate health insurance coverage.
The law also states that holding health insurance shall be considered mandatory for a person who wishes to apply for visa issuance or renewal. While the corporations are responsible for the health insurance of their employees, this responsibility is not extendable to the dependents of the employees.