Medical insurance for maids, other domestic staff and dependents

I have written about the new Dubai Health Authority (DHA) rules several times but as the deadline for Phase 3 is fast approaching I thought it would be useful to clarify the requirements and explain how you can arrange suitable cover.

Although the law was announced in 2013, the final phase for mandatory cover, which covers smaller companies, domestic staff and dependents, must be in place by no later than 30th June 2016. This final phase applies specifically to Dubai companies with fewer than 100 staff, all self-employed individuals and company owners, and dependents including children, parents and domestic staff. To be specific this is about the visa status of the dependents and all Dubai resident visa holders must be insured.

DHA logoAnyone who is employed or sponsored by a company with over 100 employees should already have DHA compliant cover is place or by the next renewal date if this on or before 30th June. Failure to comply will result in hefty fines for companies

The rules make it clear that a sponsor is responsible for arranging and paying for compliant medical insurance so this refers not only to domestic staff but also to dependent spouses, children and any other relatives that are on dependent’s visas. In many cases family members will be included in a company scheme but employers are not legally obliged to extend cover although this is encouraged by the DHA.

Cleaner1All domestic staff on salaries of AED 4,000 per month or below must be insured by a Permitted Insurer of which there are a limited number. The most popular route is the Essential Benefits Plan (EBP)   as this does not require medical underwriting (for these low earners) and has a low annual premium. The EBP plans are virtually identical in the scope of cover and must be paid for by the employer/sponsor.

Plans are designed to provide basic health coverage in Dubai and emergency treatment in the UAE.  They have a minimum annual claim limit of AED 150,000 and insurers are permitted to charge between AED 500-725 per annum.

It is worth noting the difference between employer and sponsor when it comes to the legal responsibility of arranging cover. For example, a wife may be on her husband’s visa as a dependent. If she is not in employment the husband is responsible for arranging suitable cover but if she is in employment the responsibility then falls to her employer.

Under the new rules insurers are not permitted to decline applications due to pre-existing medical conditions but premiums can be increased to reflect the increased expectation of claims. The difference for low salary earners on the EBP is that they will not be medically underwritten so there cannot be a premium loading. (If however they opt for a higher level of benefits then they will be medically underwritten.) Treatment for chronic and pre-existing conditions can be excluded for the first six months. Many treatments are subject to a 20% co-pay arrangement with limitations. Although the plans are designed to provide basic cover, and at the premium limits it would be impossible to include everything, plans do include simple maternity cover and pre-approved out-patient and in-patient treatment.

hospital sign blueThere will be a limited network which will vary by insurance company with the caveat that this must provide reasonable geographical access in relation to place of work and/or residence. The network may vary by insurer and may be a differentiator when deciding on the most suitable insurance company to approach. It is important to note that all plans have certain exclusions which can include certain work-related accidents and road traffic accidents.

The table below lists the Participating Insurers with contact details. For the Essential Benefits Plan, applications can be made directly, although a DHA approved broker can also assist.

Insurance Company Email address Telephone number
AXA Gulf 800 4848
Ras Al Khaimah National Insurance Company 800 7254
Daman (National Health Insurance Company) 02 614 5454
Oman Insurance Company 800 4746
Orient Insurance P.J.S.C 04 253 1403
Metlife Alico 800 25426
Takafal Emarat Insurance  800834
Dar al Takafal (P.J.S.C.) 04 304 1604
National General Insurance Company 04 211 5800

The cost of this insurance must be borne by the sponsor or employer, as appropriate, so in the case of domestic staff, the employer must pay the premium and arrange the Essential Benefit Plan, or another suitable policy, no later than the end of June 2016 and evidence will be required in order to renew visas.

medical 1The EBP may also be used to provide compliant cover for any Dubai residents with incomes of less than AED 4,000 but many residents prefer to arrange more comprehensive cover for their family members. In these cases there are other DHA compliant plans and as an approved broker I can arrange this. Holborn is currently still in discussions with a leading insurance company to offer a higher level plan and once this receives final approval from all parties – a lengthy process –  I will be writing about this.

Please not that a Government Health Card is not an acceptable alternative to arranging suitable medical insurance.

Any company that still does not have medical insurance in place for their employees needs to act now in order to allow sufficient time to organise appropriate cover. There are numerous options so please contact me for further information. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution but we will provide appropriate and cost-effective solutions for both companies and individuals.

For any queries regarding medical insurance, for companies or individuals, or on any other financial planning issue, please contact me at  We have a dedicated department that arranges employee benefit schemes, such as medical insurance, for all sizes of companies in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

E&EO   February 2016

Update June 2016    Dubai medical insurance deadline extension but with a catch

See further article about the medical insurance deadline: Dubai medical insurance – the final countdown

Update, April 2016

Executive Council Resolution No (7) of 2016 pertaining to fees and fines related to the health insurance sector in Dubai has just been issued and this supports the  provisions of Law No. (11) of 2013 which introduced the new medical insurance laws.

In brief, this underlines how seriously the Dubai authorities are treating the provision of proper insurance and that they will be dealing with transgressions very seriously. Companies will receive very heavy fines for non-compliance and individual visas will not be issued without proof of suitable cover.



This article refers to people with Dubai residency visas only.

Please refer to the Dubai Health Authority website and those of the Participating Insurers for full details of the cover available.

About FinancialUAE

A qualified and experienced Independent Financial Adviser based in Dubai, UAE. Professional and ethical. Freelance writer on personal financial issues & the On Your Side column in The National. Founder of Facebook group British Expats Dubai. Senior Partner at Holborn Assets LLC, Dubai, UAE.
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7 Responses to Medical insurance for maids, other domestic staff and dependents

  1. Pingback: Medical insurance in Dubai – the final countdown | Financial Planning in the UAE

  2. Pingback: News: Dubai medical insurance deadline extension – but with a catch. | Financial Planning in the UAE

  3. Aman says:

    Thanks for the very informative article. One query regarding Road Traffic Accident treatment being excluded from the Insurance company for domestic staff. I was about to take out a ‘Takaful Emarat’ policy until I noticed they exclude RTA coverage.

    What happens in the event they do have a RTA – who is expected to pay?


    • financialuae says:

      Hi Aman
      Thank you for your enquiry. My understanding is that the vehicle insurance is supposed to pay out and cover the costs but that looks tricky to enforce. It seems to be something of a grey area as generally a sponsor is liable but if the have set up DHA compliant cover then they should be exempt from this liability. AT this stage there doesn’t see to be an absolute clear answer as the DHA simply refers to the vehicle insurance.

  4. paul says:

    Hi Karen,

    Thank you for this information. I have one question. Does this law cover even the northern emirates or only in Dubai?

    Thank you

    • financialuae says:

      These are the rules of the Dubai Health Authority so are relevant for Dubai only and anyone on a Dubai residency visa. The Essential Benefits Plan is only available to people on Dubai visas.
      Kind regards

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