Mandatory health insurance for UAE employees: How is it different from existing requirements?

Mandatory health insurance for UAE employees: How is it different from existing requirements?

The UAE government has introduced a compulsory health insurance program for all private sector employees and domestic workers, effective January 1, 2025. This initiative aims to make healthcare expenses more manageable for residents. The scheme offers relief to individuals without employer-provided health coverage who struggle to afford insurance. Although employers may face increased premiums and expenses, offering comprehensive health benefits can enhance their ability to attract and retain skilled workers.

Here's a comprehensive overview of the nationwide healthcare scheme in the UAE.

How is this scheme different from the mandatory plans that exist already?

Currently, mandatory health insurance is limited to employees in Abu Dhabi and Dubai due to localized laws enacted by these emirates. However, the new nationwide system requires employers to extend healthcare coverage to their employees across the entire UAE.

In Dubai, it is obligatory for employers to provide a health insurance package to their employees. However, employees are responsible for enrolling their family members (dependents) who are under their sponsorship into the scheme.

In Abu Dhabi, both employers and sponsors are required to provide coverage for their employees and their families, including one spouse and up to three children under the age of 18.

Once rolled out, will employees be required to pay for the insurance scheme?

According to the law, employers and sponsors will indeed be obligated to cover the costs for their staff and domestic workers. However, it is not explicitly stated whether the law will require companies to finance insurance schemes for the family members of their employees.

How will the UAE enforce the rule?

As per a statement from the UAE Cabinet, employers will be required to obtain a healthcare package for their employees when issuing or renewing their residency permits. This implies that the provision of a health plan to an employee or domestic worker could be tied to the issuance or renewal of their visa, mirroring the procedure in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In both emirates, visas are withheld or renewed only upon proof of valid health coverage.

Will there be a fine for not getting health coverage for employees?

Specific penalties for non-compliance with the UAE-wide healthcare scheme have not been detailed yet. However, for the existing schemes in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, fines typically range from Dh300 to Dh500 per month per individual for failure to provide health insurance coverage.

What will the insurance scheme cover?

The UAE has yet to clarify the specific coverage provided under the mandatory insurance scheme for beneficiaries. However, even basic packages, such as the essential benefits plans offered by employers in Dubai for staff earning less than Dh4,000 a month, typically cover emergencies, surgeries, medical diagnosis, medication, both outpatient and inpatient treatments, and maternity care, according to information from insurance aggregator Policybazaar.

Policybazaar also notes that there are certain limitations and conditions in place, along with co-insurance requirements where the insured person is responsible for a portion of the cost.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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