On the news today, you will have heard from Dr Haider Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at Dubai Health Authority (DHA). He informed us that soon our Emirates ID cards will replace medical insurance cards. How?
With effect from 1st January DHA is working in close cooperation with General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA). GDRFA is the government agency which grants residency visas. DHA has been compiling a Members Register which is a list of everyone who has a DHA compliant medical insurance plan. GDRFA will review the Members Register to check that the person applying for a residency visa has a compliant plan before granting a visa.
As you will know, the application for a residency visa and Emirates ID is closely intertwined. The Emirates ID involves the collection of bio-data and there is a micro-chip implanted within it which can hold data. Part of this data will be your medical insurance policy.
Dubai Insurance Law 2013 is the relevant law concerning compulsory medical insurance. This law has been implemented over the last 18 months. All employers with more than 100 employees are already required to provide their employees with a compliant plan.
That leaves non-working spouses, children and anyone working for a company with less than 100 employees. A substantial number of people who will need to have a plan in place before 30th June 2016.
So, what does this mean for your business?
1. If you have not already put a compliant policy in place for your employees, you need to plan for this during the year.
2.You should be aware that putting a policy in place will take about 4 weeks under normal circumstances. (June of this year will not be normal).
3.Having a good plan in place, not just meeting your legal obligations, will improve your staff morale;
4.Staff will be healthier and recover quicker if they have access to quality healthcare, which means that your productivity and so profitability will increase;
5.At this stage you are not legally obliged to cover spouses and children of your staff;
6.You can offer to include spouses and children in the company scheme, either paid for by the company or by the employee;
7.There are special rules for employees earning AED 4,000 per month or less;
8.There are over 40 medical insurance companies registered with DHA all with different policies;
9.Using a broker does not cost you any more than going direct to the insurance company and can save you money by making sure the cover you buy represents good value for money;
10.Using a broker saves your employees’ time. Time that could be used on more profitable activities instead of analysing the insurance policies and their terms and conditions, of which they may not have a detailed knowledge.
If you employ or sponsor a housekeeper or driver you will also have a legal obligation to provide them with compliant healthcare no later than 30th June 2016.
If you have any questions about compulsory medical insurance, please let me know.