Employers who charge staff for health insurance to be penalised

ABU DHABI — Employers who force employees to bear partial value of the health insurance policy will be slapped with a Dh10,000 fine on account of each employee.

By Nada S.mussallam

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Published: Thu 24 Aug 2006, 9:16 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:15 PM

According to Law No. 23 of 2005 on health insurance and the executive bylaws, “Employer who will practise coercion to compel his staff to refund part of the insurance cost will be fined Dh10,000 for each employee. He would also be asked to return the deducted money to the employee,” official sources at the General Health Authority for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (GAHS) told Khaleej Times yesterday.

Under a presidential decree a health insurance policy has been introduced to alleviate the suffering of expatriates who groan under exorbitant costs of medical services.

As per the law, employers should fully cover employees with a national health insurance system that phases out the existing health card. Expatriate employees, especially those who are already facing labour problems with their companies including late payment of dues, have been anxious whether sponsors would bear their medical expenses.

The first phase of the health insurance project was enforced on July 1 and included companies with a labour force that exceeds 1,000 staff. However, the second phase slated for January 1,2007 will include all expatriates dwelling and working in the capital. “Employers who failed to cover their employees with the insurance policy or renew membership of their employees and their dependents will be subject to pecuniary penalty,” the sources have warned.

Dh300 will be collected from the employer for each employee whose membership has not been renewed, they cautioned. They underlined that insurance companies or health institutions that undertake issuing insurance cards for establishments without the approval of GAHS, will also be penalised. “Insurance companies or health facilities that opt to provide the national health insurance policy without being authorised by GAHS will have to pay Dh20,000 for each violation,” warned an official.

Responding to a question about categories that are exempted from the insurance, officials stated that UAE nationals, the non-local wife of a UAE national, the sons of a UAE female national married to a non-national and the AGCC citizens, are permanently exempted from the project.

“Those who have been granted a federal decree on getting citizenship but still have certain procedures to complete, besides those partially or completely exempted by GAHS, need not join the insurance scheme,” added the official.

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