Dubai brings in compulsory heath insurance for expats

Published:  24 Jan at 6 PM
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Expats, locals and visitors to Dubai must now have compulsory medical insurance, with the new law taking effect immediately.

The move is expected to push up the cost of health insurance in the emirate, although it’s expected that private companies employing expats will bear the cost. The scheme will be phased in over a three year period, and its introduction ends years of speculation about its application to expats.

Mandatory health insurance will place a strain on local hospitals, as those previously uninsured and unable to afford medical care will seek treatment. Local small businesses such as coffee shops and hair salons will be forced to increase their prices in order to cover the extra cost.

Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid, has approved the new law, which basically requires all employers to cover employees and their spouses against heath care costs. Expat workers and other foreign nationals constitute 90 per cent of the emirate’s population, and many have claimed that local people are suffering from a shortage of hospital beds.

Foreign companies in Dubai consider the move is somewhat ironic in its sudden implementation as, in 2008, another scheme was on the cards but was cancelled due to the financial crash. The model to be used differs considerably from its predecessor in that it does not dictate cover levels or the format of the product.

Meanwhile, a major international insurer has launched an international health insurance product which covers travellers across borders, making it easier to move between countries whilst staying insured. It’s designed to appeal to business travellers, although the USA and the Caribbean countries are excluded.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Kconan wrote 10 years ago:

May result in a few less expats, but this makes sense from the standpoint that they don't want unpaid medical bills.

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