UAE has a comprehensive, government-funded health care system and a rapidly developing private sector that delivers a high standard of care. The health insurance law stipulates that residents must have health insurance that meets or exceeds minimum benefits stipulated by the Dubai Health Authority.
In Dubai, employers are legally obligated to provide medical coverage for their employees.
Note: In some parts of UAE, particular Ajman, Ras Al-Khaimah, Sharjah, Fujairah, and Umm Al-Quwain, have incorporated their own healthcare institutions. It is not mandatory for employers in such areas to provide medical insurance to employees.
Every employer can opt to provide health insurance benefits to all its employees or workers and their family members, specifically the wife and three children under 18 years of age. Expatriates may not be employed or issued residency permits nor have existing permits renewed unless they are subscribed to the health insurance scheme.
In accordance with the rules set by the Dubai Health Authority, an employer is responsible for paying the premiums. They are not permitted to make any employees pay for their own coverage.
Obligations of employers in the UAE
It is an obligation of an employer to provide the health insurance coverage and to bear its entire cost. Law No. 11 of 2013 concerning health insurance in the emirate of Dubai states, the employer shall be obliged to do the following:
- The employees by health insurance should be covered in accordance with the health insurance policy applicable.
- Verify the validity of the health insurance of the employees for the length of their work period with the employer.
- Bear the health care services and medical costs in case of emergencies for the employees, if any of them has no health insurance in accordance with the provisions of this law.
- Give the employees’ health insurance card.
- Provide health insurance policy upon the issuance of residence visa or its renewal.
- Comply with any other obligations specified by the authority pursuant to the resolutions issued thereby in such concern.
- The cost of health insurance should be paid by the employer rather than making the beneficiaries do so.
Based on the above-mentioned provisions of the law, it is the responsibility of the employer to provide health insurance coverage to the employees in the emirate of Dubai. The employer should not demand or request the employee to bear any part of the cost of a health insurance premium.
Insurance coverage for spouses, dependents and domestic helpers
It is the responsibility of the sponsors of spouses, dependents and domestic workers to arrange for their medical insurance coverage if the sponsor’s employers won’t provide such an insurance plan. While some companies will offer to ensure an employee’s child and spouse at no extra cost, this cannot be on the basic DHA plan. Domestic workers must be covered under a separate policy.
Benefits that must be included in health insurance coverage
The minimum level of benefits that must be provided by any medical insurance plan offered in Dubai must include:
- Preexisting chronic conditions
- Inpatient treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Cost of medicine
- Maternity services
The consequence of failure to comply with health insurance law
The Dubai Health Authority has stated that fines will be imposed on sponsors and employers who fail to comply with the legislation. A fine of AED 500 will be issued for each month of non-compliance and no new visas will be granted, and existing visas will not be renewed. Fines will be paid during the renewal or cancellation of residence visas.
For UAE Nationals, their medical insurance is covered by the Government-sponsored scheme that is set out by the Dubai Health Authority. Those who work in the private sector have the option of opting for employer’s health insurance policy or to join the National Government Scheme.
The healthcare system in the UAE varies from emirate to emirate, but the services within the UAE of an extremely high quality which is why they can be expensive. If you are an employer in Dubai and you still need to know more about health insurance laws and your obligations, utilize the knowledge and experience of the experts on medical insurance law like HHS Lawyers. They can provide you with guidance on insurance laws and answer any questions that you may have.