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Dubai Drafts Law to Ensure Workers Have Access to Health Insurance
Posted on May 29, 2013 by Mary Smith
UMI reports on the latest news that Dubai is in the process of implementing a federal law to ensure that all employees have access to health insurance.
Dubai is in the process of implementing a federal law that will ensure that all employees have access to health insurance. The law is expected to come into force sometime in 2013 and could result in those employers who do not provide their employees with coverage facing fines of up Dh10,000.
In addition to making sure employers provide coverage, any employer that attempts to charge an employee for health insurance coverage could see fines of as much as Dh30,000, according to the Al Ittihad, The National’s Arabic-language partner paper.
The UAE government has announced that there will be a federal authority that will be set up and in charge of overseeing the new law to make sure that employee’s benefits will be able to be transferable between providers.
Currently Abu Dhabi is the only emirate enforcing the health insurance coverage mandate, and almost 98% of their work force now has health coverage.
The director of health funding at the Dubai Health Authority, Dr Haider Al Yousuf, expressed his approval of the law, saying that it is a clear way to make sure that those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds will have health insurance coverage.
According to the draft, employers have to provide documentation to prove that each of their employees have medical insurance coverage. Fines for giving incorrect or insufficient information, or for neglecting to follow the draft will range from Dh10,000 to Dh30,000.
Fines are even heftier for health insurance companies or providers that are operating or practicing without the necessary and proper licensing from the proper authorities. In addition, any disclosure of an employee’s or policyholder’s confidential information will result in a fine from Dh50,000 up to Dh200,000.
Healthcare professionals are enthusiastic about the new law, with many affirming that the law is a good idea not only for UAE nationals but also for the thousands of foreign workers moving to the country.
Hospitals are also relieved about the reform as some within the hospital system have stated that many people come to the hospitals but are not able to receive care because they lack proper coverage.
Dr Hussein Haddad, who is a pharmacist in Abu Dhabi, shared similar sentiments. He noted that healthcare costs in the UAE are quite high, especially when compared to other countries in the region. He argued that the costs are so high that many ordinary workers who have low salaries are not able to afford the surgeries and treatment they may need.
Insurance manager at Abu Dhabi’s Burjeel Hospital, Dr Nisar Ahmed, added his view that medical insurance is necessary for employers to provide to make sure their employees are healthy and taken care of. He suggested that the average employee would not even be able to afford 2 days of inpatient care at a UAE hospital.
Dr. Ahmed went on to say that it’s actually a benefit for the employer as well, as companies can worry less on the security, safety and health of their employees, which allows for higher levels of productivity and efficiency.
The law also has mandates and rules to make sure that all who have the proper documentation for insurance coverage will be able to receive treatment, no matter whether or not the facility they go to receive their treatment is included on their health insurance providers coverage list. Additionally, those on the policy must be able to continue receiving treatment even if there is an issue or dispute with the insurance provider and the healthcare facility. Another item included in the law indicates that insurance providers are prohibited from operating healthcare facilities just as healthcare facilities are not permitted to operate insurance companies.
Analysts at UAE Medical Insurance are staying abreast of any changes and are prepared to help the company transition when the law comes into place.