Dubai compulsory health insurance deadline given grace period after warning

Published:  3 Jun at 6 PM
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An unexpected announcement yesterday reversed an earlier warning to expats over the 30 June health insurance deadline.

Previous announcements gave Dubai expatriates until the end of June to arrange compulsory health insurance for themselves, their dependents and any staff employed. However, an announcement yesterday stated that, although the deadline still applies, penalties for those who do not comply will not be imposed at present.

According to DHA funding director Dr Haidar al Yousuf, a grace period ending on December 31 has been given, in order to give expatriates time to comply with the law and protect sponsors as well as dependents and staff. The new law introduces a legal liability for all sponsors to provide insurance packages of between AED550 and AED700 in order to give health cover to those receiving wages of less than AED4,000 per annum.

In order to make sure expatriates and others understand exactly what is required, Dubai’s health department is putting together informative roadshows featuring companies offering low-cost insurance packages. It’s hoped the facility will help those unsure about the new law to sign up and move along the take-up of the initiative. In total, only 75 per cent of expats in Dubai are covered by health insurance plans, with the new mandatory requirement aimed at covering the remaining 25 per cent.

The government initiative follows a similar new law in Abu Dhabi, and Qatar is now studying the scheme with intent to introduce a version by December. Advisors in Dubai state it’s important that expats realise their new responsibilities for their dependents and any staff, domestic or otherwise, they may employ.

Meanwhile, expats in Kuwait are to be charged increased fees for health services in the Emirate, and visitors will need to have compulsory health insurance by the end of this year. Public health services will only be provided for Kuwaiti citizens and public sector expat employees, with all others to be served by 15 new privately-run medical centres.
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