There are only a few weeks to go until the Phase 3 deadline of 30th June but it seems that rather a lot of companies and individuals have still to take the required action and organise suitable medical insurance for their employees, their dependents or even themselves. This article will explain who needs to do what and how to do it.
There has been a great deal written about the arrangement of medical insurance but mainly in relation to larger companies. The deadlines for all employers with 100 staff or more have long passed and companies should all have suitable schemes in place. The final deadline applies to companies with fewer than 100 employees, dependents of Dubai visa holders such as children, spouse, parents and also domestic staff who are sponsored by their employer. This category includes those on freelance visas and one-man bands. In short, it applies to everyone else.
Failure to organise cover means you will not be able to obtain or renew visas and will lead to fines. For companies in particular the fines can be substantial.
I covered the requirements for domestic staff and the lower paid in a previous article here: Medical insurance for dependents, maids & other domestic staff
Note that if you want to arrange a plan with a higher level of cover and more benefits for any dependents or domestic staff you can do so but there is a significant increase in cost from the cap of AED 700 a year for the Essential Benefit Plan and all applications have to be medically underwritten.
Who is responsible for arranging cover?
The responsibility for insuring non-working individuals rests with their sponsor and whilst employers are encouraged to extend cover to family members they are not obliged to do so. Employers are also not permitted to pass on the cost of cover to either employees or dependents.
The responsibility for providing compliant medical insurance lies with firstly the employer and then the sponsor. This means that for all employees, no matter whether they are sponsored directly or not, the employer must provide medical insurance. This includes employees who are on a spouse’s visa and in employment.
Whilst arranging proper medical insurance can be a significant cost for a business the decision to make it mandatory across the emirate is for all the right reasons. To quote Dr Haider Al Yousef, director of Health Funding at Dubai Health Authority;
“…the benefits outweigh the minimum costs involved. The scheme protects both employers and employees from unforeseen health care costs that can arise out of an illness or an emergency.”
Having decent medical cover in place not only means employees are happier but they are less likely to have to take extended leave due to illness as they can be treated appropriately
Who can arrange the right cover?
There are a total of 46 insurance companies that are approved by Dubai Health Authority (DHA) but they are by no means the same. Each company has several plans and without specialist knowledge it is impossible to know which is the best option in a specific situation. This is where a good broker can make all the difference. It costs no more to work with a DHA regulated broker and you benefit from expert advice.
Holborn has an in-house Employee Benefits division that arranges and manages corporate schemes of all sizes in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. We will give you independent advice on the options that work for you, either as an individual or for your company.
If you are a small business and have yet to put suitable cover in place for your company you need to act now. There are solutions to fit circumstances, preferences and budgets and we work with you, on an ongoing basis, to ensure that you have the best cover in place.
For more information on the DHA medical insurance requirements, for a review of an existing scheme or to set up a new plan or scheme, as well as expert advice on any other financial planning issue please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
EDIT. This topic was covered on the Dubai Today show with Suzanne Radford on Dubai Eye 103.8FM on Monday 9th May and this is the link to the podcast of the show: Dubai Eye 09.15.16 Medical cover, gratuities & a pension issue