Families in Dubai have a month to get their health insurance done which has become compulsory, said the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
If there is a failure in the obtain of health insurance, it will lead to a fine of AED 500 per month for each dependent, which would be paid by the sponsor.
Dr Haider Al Yousuf, the authority’s director of health funding, has urged the people residing in Dubai to meet the criteria before the deadline approaches.
“Insurance is about protection,” said Dr Haider. “And if someone has to shell out a AED500 as fine, isn’t it better to pay AED600 for a basic health insurance package?”
Currently, nine insurance companies approved by the DHA are offering the Essential Health Benefit (EHB) package.
“This is a community package,” said Dr Haider. “The authority has negotiated this package on behalf of the community which starts at a minimum of AED565 per year, up to a maximum of AED650.”
“People can call up any insurance company and they will help you out.”
“Insurance companies cannot say no. They have to provide this to anyone who asks for it and sell at the approved rate and not higher.”
The final phase of implementation is applicable to those earning less than AED4,000, including dependents of expat workers.
Residents can top up the package to include additional health benefits if required.
Forty-six insurance companies are offering affordable packages at rates also approved by the authority, of which nine are providing the EBP.
Residents who have their elderly parents residing in the country can now benefit from insurance packages for their elderly starting from AED2,500.
“Before the implementation of the law, an elderly dependent would have to shell out from AED15,000 upwards for basic insurance. Now we have managed to bring these prices down because we were keen to design a smart package to cater to this category,” said Dr Haider.
In November 2013 when the health insurance scheme was first introduced, the insured population in Dubai was 1.1 million. By the end of 2014 – which was end of phase 1 – the number increased to 1.9 million. By mid-2015 (end of phase 2), the number went up to 2.6 million, and as of now (May 2016), the number of insured people in Dubai is 3 million.
“By the end of June, the aim is to reach 3.6 million people,” said Dr Haider.
Dubai started implementing health insurance in phases since 2013. July 2016 is the last deadline to be met for residents.
In 2017, visitors to the emirate will also have to pay for medical insurance before being able to obtain a visit visa.