DHA sets final deadline for fines
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DHA sets final deadline for fines

As you are probably well aware by now, the Dubai Health Authority has fully implemented their mandatory health insurance coverage scheme which aims to ensure that 100% of the Emirate's residents have adequate coverage for their medical conditions. With the final implementation being carried out last summer came word that the fines for not securing appropriate coverage were to be delayed until early 2017. This deadline was again passed with a further announcement that fines would be delayed. Now, the DHA has finally set another deadline.  


First, looking at the state of health insurance coverage in Dubai

Since the introduction of the DHA's mandatory health insurance scheme in 2013 the number of residents in Dubai with health insurance coverage has increased from as low as 23% for some population groups to about 98% by the end of 2016.

While 98% of residents in the Emirate are insured, the other 2% represent around 25,000 people without medical insurance. Eventually, the DHA hopes that this number will reach 100%.

One strategy the organization has implemented to help them ensure that 100% of the population in Dubai has health insurance is by levying fines toward people or companies who don't secure compulsory insurance coverage for themselves, their dependants, or their employees.

The problem here is that with the deadline fast approaching last year, there was a rush to sign up for insurance causing some delays and confusion. Due to this, the DHA announced that they would delay levying fines until January 1, 2017. In early January it was announced that this deadline would again be delayed, but no deadline was given until mid-February.


When is the new deadline?

The DHA has stated that the new date in a mandate officially dubbed Executive Council resolution no (6) 2017, which sets the date of March 31, 2017 as the new date at which people without compulsory health insurance will start being fined.

In other words, if you have not secured insurance for yourself, your dependants, or your employees - remember that it is the employer's responsibility to offer health insurance coverage for their employees - by this date, you will be facing fines.

Of course, as this article in the Gulf News mentions "The resolution, however, gives authority to Humaid Al Qutami, Director General of Dubai Health Authority, to extend this deadline if required."


How much will the fines be?

As stated before, a goal the DHA has with the introduction of mandatory health insurance in Dubai is that every resident will have health insurance coverage. The vast majority of residents in Dubai will have it covered via their employer but self-employed individuals, employees with dependants, and even residents with maids are required to arrange coverage themselves.

For those who do not arrange a plan that meets the DHA's coverage requirements, you will be facing a fine of AED 500 per month if you do not have coverage. Because most plans are secured by employers, this fine will usually be levied towards your employer. However, if you have individual plans you will be fined.

It should be noted here that the fines are on a per person basis. For example, if you have 15 employees in your office in Dubai and have not secured insurance for them you will be fined Dh 7,500 a month.


Thinking of skipping securing coverage and just paying the fine?

This would not be a good idea for two reasons.

Firstly, the cost of the many basic plans that meet the coverage requirements set out by the DHA cost around Dh 550 to Dh 700 per year (depending on the insurer). This means that 2 months of fines will be much higher than the yearly cost of the plan. It makes more sense, financially, to just secure a plan.

The second reason is that the DHA has been fairly smart when it comes to the implementation of this scheme. They have tied the securing of a relevant plan a requirement for the issuing of visas to all foreigners. If you, as an employer, do not secure insurance for your staff their visas will not be issued or renewed.

In fact, while the fine deadline has been extended, reports have started to surface stating that visa offices and typing centers are starting to reject visa renewal applications if the person does not already have health insurance coverage and can prove it.

In some cases, the renewal centers are asking to see your health insurance card. If you secure insurance and do not have the card you may see your visa renewal halted or delayed. This means that if you do not currently have insurance and need to renew your visa soon it might be a good idea to secure appropriate coverage asap or face delays with your renewal process.


I am moving to Dubai, will I need to secure insurance or pay a fine?

Yes, you will need to secure adequate health insurance coverage before the issuing of your work visa. The key thing to be aware of here is that the DHA has fairly strict requirements as to what needs to be covered. Many health insurance plans issued in other countries will not meet some of these requirements e.g., pre-existing conditions and maternity must be covered.

Beyond that, the plan secured needs to be issued by an insurer that has been approved by the DHA to sell plans. It would, therefore, be a good idea to consult with an insurance expert like UAE Medical Insurance.

With years of experience in helping expats secure the right health insurance, we can help you identify a plan that meets the coverage requirements and secure it to ensure that you will be able to get your visa issued or renewed. Contact us today.  


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