80 per cent of Dubai residents will need compulsory health insurance

Published:  5 Dec at 6 PM
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A new law unveiled earlier this week means that the 80 per cent of Dubai’s residents who are expats will be compelled to obtain private health insurance.

Dubai nationals make up just 20 per cent of the Emirate’s population, and are already covered by a national scheme, but private health insurance will be mandatory for all other residents from next year. The law will be rolled out over a three year period, and is similar to a scheme introduced in Abu Dhabi six years ago.

Dubai’s wealthy nationals are expected to benefit from the construction of new private medical facilities, but companies with a large number of expat employees will need to implement affordable heath insurance or added allowances to cover the cost. The only people who are likely to benefit from the new law in the short term are expat financial advisors and private health insurance firms.

The financial and insurance sector is expecting a three-year feeding frenzy in sales of private health insurances, either to individuals or to large companies looking to set up staff plans. According to several local press reports of a speech by the Director General of Dubai’s health authority, the cost of private health coverage is likely to run to around two per cent of the average expat salary.

However, it’s well-known that international health insurances for expats from well-known names in the sector such as BUPA, are only available at a much higher percentage. It remains to be seen how companies with a high number of expat workers cope with the challenge.
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