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Compliance Update – Dubai Health Authority (DHA)
Posted on Aug 27, 2015 by Rob McBroom
UMI provides an in-depth look at the recent enactment of Phase 2 of the DHA's mandatory health insurance scheme and what corporations operating in the Emirate need to know about it.
The signing of the Dubai Health Insurance Law in November 2013 ensures that health insurance as a compulsory benefit is in place for all employees residing in the Emirate of Dubai. As you no doubt know by now, the second stage of this law has been enacted. Along with the implementation of the second stage, the Dubai Health Authority has also implemented an enforcement system to ensure compliance of this law which came into effect August 1, 2015. We touched on this briefly in our last article which focused on upcoming fines, but feel that this is an important issue for all coporations - large and small - in Dubai to be aware of.
To help companies in Dubai make sense of the new law, UMI has expanded on the last article's topic and brought all the information you need to know into this one post.
How will the DHA enforce compliance of the law?
To ensure all residents in Dubai have adequate medical insurance in place, the Dubai Health Authority Health Funding Department (HFD) has partnered with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners affairs (GDFA). The GDFA, whose vision is to ensure the UAE is one of the safest and most secure countries in the world, is responsible for all immigration related matters for the Emirates, such as issuing entry permits and residence visas. Together, these two regualtory bodies have created a system.
In the GDRFA system, employers as visa sponsors will be divided into 3 categories
- Phase 1 - Implementation date: 31 October 2014. For all companies employing more than 1000 employees.
- Phase 2 - Implementation date: 31 July 2015. For all companies employing more than 100 and up to 1000 employees.
- Phase 3 - Implementation date: 30 June 2016. For companies employing up to and including 100 employees and all spouses, dependents and domestic staff.
The DHA is using the dates above as set dates as to when companies need to have implemented health insurance for their employees. For example, employers belonging to phase 3 need to comply as of 30th July 2016 - a 1 month grace period is allowed to ensure adequate time for companies to secure coverage.
But please note this is a deadline meaning that a compliant health insurance should be put in place prior to this date.
However, if your company is currently a Phase 3 company, but is growing at such a rate that you will have more than 100 employees before the 2016 deadline, you will be automatically reclassified as being in Phase 2, which means you need to already have health insurance in place before you hire your 101st employee, or you may face a fine.
How will the GDRFA know if the company has an insurance plan in place for their employees?
The GDRFA will have access to the HFD’s electronic Member Register, which is populated by the insurance companies and includes information about insurance details for each individual employee. If the member cannot be found in the electronic Member Register, the visa application will be rejected. The electronic Member Register is currently being updated by the insurance companies in a timely manner, and the new process will ensure a smooth flow of information among all parties involved.
What does this mean for UMI's Corporate clients based in Dubai?
As of 1st August 2015, no new visas will be released or renewed if an employer has failed to provide or implement adequate medical insurance cover for all employees.
For companies that do not adhere to the new laws and fail to provide mandatory health insurance for employees, a set of punitive measures have been planned. Dr Al Yousuf, director of Health Funding at the DHA said:
"To begin with, companies that do not comply will have to pay a fine per person, every month." He followed up with the possibility of blacklisting or the non-renewal of trade licenses as some potential measures, "The fine will definitely be higher than the basic insurance package. Eventually, we will block the renewal of existing visas, blacklist, or even block trade license renewal. Our sole objective is to get employees the health benefits that will accrue to them through the mandatory cover."
What do UMI's Corporate clients need to do next?
The Member Register is populated by the insurance company based on data supplied by the employer. It is therefore essential that employers supply, in a timely manner, all data requested by the insurer.
On behalf of the Health Insurance Company that your group medical scheme is insured with, UMI will facilitate the collection of employee data that is required for the HFD’s electronic Member Register. We will ask for you to update the membership census that we already hold on file and to provide any additional employee documentation that is required. This will happen over the coming weeks.
We hope this communication is informative and helpful for our customers with regards to the new laws concerning health insurance in Dubai.
For more information on this topic or any queries that you may have, please contact your Corporate Account Manager