Another deadline, another extension: Dubai mandatory health insurance update
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Another deadline, another extension: Dubai mandatory health insurance update

According to Dubai law, all residents were to have private health insurance coverage as of June 30th, 2016. However, thanks to numerous deadline extensions, people without insurance still have felt no repercussions for non-compliance. How long will this last? Read on to find out more.

It’s a headline that we’ve seen before in Dubai: “Government extends deadline for mandatory health insurance.” That’s right, once again the people and businesses that have yet to comply with the Emirate’s new mandatory health insurance reform are able to avoid the sting of penalties against them. So what are the details of this new extension, and what is the state of the reform at this time? Read on to find out more.

The reform

Just to recap, the healthcare reform in question requires every person in Dubai to be covered by their own private health insurance policy. This applies to both Dubai residents and those that visit the area, meaning that travelers to Dubai may not be granted an entry visa if they do not have proof of insurance. Additionally, the government has laid out a minimum acceptable level of coverage that all insurance policies must adhere to in order to be recognized as complying with the reform, as well as prevented insurers from excluding pre-existing conditions, so every person in Dubai should eventually be confident that they will reasonably be able to address their healthcare needs going forward.

The deadline

The original deadline for all companies and individuals in Dubai to obtain health insurance by was June 30th, 2016. However, just prior to this date, it was announced that a grace period would be given. This six month allowance would give those that were not compliant until the end of 2016 to purchase insurance, and give procrastinators and penny savers another six months during which they would not have to pay for health insurance. The likely reasoning behind this move was that the government either did not want to make citizens irate by starting to fine them for non-compliance with the new healthcare law, or possibly that regulators were not yet fully prepared to start enforcing such fines.

The fines

During the time of the initial deadline, it had not even been announced what the specific penalties for non-compliance were. After June 30th, however, the Dubai government formally announced what the fines would be. As it turns out, every month that a person goes without insurance coverage in Dubai, a AED500 fine will be levied against either them, or the employer whose responsibility it is to secure health insurance for the uninsured individual. Those that would be tempted to shirk their duty to secure insurance should be aware that the annual cost of a health insurance plan that meets Dubai’s minimum benefit requirements can be as low as only AED550. Therefore, buying health insurance can save you quite a bit of money after only 2 months. For this reason, it will be important for people to keep track of their policy renewal date going forward so that they do not have a lapse in coverage that might result in a fine.

The extension

Now, even after having being given two chances already to obtain health insurance coverage in line with Dubai’s healthcare reform, those that have yet to obtain a policy for themselves or their employees still are able to avoid punishment. However, there is a glaring difference this time around in that there has been no future date given for when fines will be administered for non-compliance.

What is the reasoning behind this extension? Well, it was still reported that people were scrambling to obtain coverage as the end-of-December deadline approached, meaning that perhaps the proper effort had not been taken to educate those in Dubai of their obligation to secure health insurance. Furthermore, this influx of people applying for insurance is said to have caused issues for insurers that are trying to process all of them. As such, people are still free to be sans insurance without consequence. With all this being said, a new deadline for health insurance applications is likely to be coming soon, so those without insurance should certainly be making immediate progress on securing a plan for themselves.

More people than ever before insured

The reform has certainly had an impact on the insured rates as the Dubai Health Authority has announced that about 98% of Dubai residents have already signed up for health insurance coverage. There is still a ways to go, however, as 2% of the population of Dubai amounts to over 25,000 people that are without medical insurance.

Public concern of mandatory health insurance

So what do Dubai residents really think about the new health insurance policy? Well, it certainly hasn’t been without criticism. A recent article from the Khaleej Times cited complaints about high premiums, especially for single women of a child-bearing age and the elderly. Annual premiums of up to AED40,000 were highlighted for some residents over 60 years of age. For some Dubai residents, a choice is presented of paying high premiums for health insurance or leaving Dubai entirely, and some families have already made the choice to exit the emirate due to the new insurance requirements.

UAE Medical Insurance can help

If you are a person or represent a company in Dubai that still needs to obtain health insurance, UAE Medical Insurance can help! Out experienced and helpful insurance advisers are standing by to answer any questions you may have about medical insurance in Dubai, and provide you with free plan comparisons and price quotes. Contact them today!


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