Abu Dhabi expats still without health cover

WITH the health cards phased out and no longer renewable, expatriates in Abu Dhabi are a confused lot as they are yet to subscribe to the new health insurance scheme which came into force in the emirate almost one month ago.

By Catch Of The Day

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Published: Thu 27 Jul 2006, 11:43 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:47 PM

Their expired health cards can not gain them admittance to government hospitals and clinics. Those who approached government clinics to get their cards renewed were told to check with their employers. But most of the employers did not seem seriously concerned. Many employees have no idea where to go despite the large-scale media campaign that accompanied the launch of the new insurance scheme.

Health officials, as they expected such laziness on the part of the employers, said employees having problems with their sponsors concerning the new health insurance scheme can seek the help of the authorities.

A complaints unit to receive employees grievances has been set up where employees can directly address the unit to lodge complaints they have against their employers regarding the project. But many believe this will not provide any immediate solution to the problem as sickness does not wait until you get your health insurance card from your employer.

The insurance card could be coming after sometime....or maybe months. On the other hand, many employees in the private sector, especially those who have problems with their employers concerning monthly payment were sceptical that their sponsors will include them in the scheme even though the presidential decree concerning the health insurance project has made it compulsory for employers to provide their employees with a health insurance policy. The first phase of the scheme includes firms employing more than 1000 employees. Phase two of the project will be implemented on January 1, 2007 and will include all expatriates residing and working in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

However, officials stressed that necessary measures were taken to ensure compliance of companies with the new rule, warning that the law stipulates several penalties in case of any breaches.

According to the provision of the law on violations and fines, a fine of Dh300 will be imposed on an employer every month for each employee the sponsor did not include in the scheme or failed to renew his or her subscription. It's hoped that the targeted companies will abide by the rules of the scheme which will soon be implemented by other Emirates to avoid extra burden on the employees.

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