Got health cover for family yet? You have just a month

Got health cover for family yet? You have just a month

Dubai - Just a month left to sign up for mandatory health insurance scheme in Dubai

By Asma Ali Zain

Published: Tue 31 May 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 29 Jul 2016, 8:56 AM

If you and your family are Dubai residents and have not yet taken the compulsory health insurance, then you only have a month to do so, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has said.
The project - which is in its third phase of implementation for residents - is on track. However, failure to obtain insurance in time will result in fines of Dh500 per month for each dependent that will have to be paid by the sponsor/employer.
Also, soon after the deadline is over, all resident visa approvals will be linked to insurance.
Dr Haider Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at the authority, said the process to obtain insurance for self and dependents is easy and simple. "People can call up any insurance company and they will help you out," he told Khaleej Times.
The last phase of implementation is applicable for people earning less than Dh4,000, including domestic workers, dependents of expatriate workers and dependent elderly residents aged above 60.
"Insurance is about protection," said Dr Haider. "And if someone has to shell out Dh500 as fine, isn't it better to pay Dh600 for a basic health insurance package?"
Currently, nine insurance companies approved by the DHA are offering the Essential Health Benefit (EHB) package. "This is a community package ... The authority has negotiated this package on behalf of the community which starts at a minimum of Dh565 per year up to a maximum of Dh650," explained Dr Haider.
"Insurance companies cannot say no ... They have to provide this to anyone who asks for it and sell at the approved rate and not higher."
Residents can, however, top up the package to include additional health benefits if required.
Forty-six insurance companies are offering affordable packages at rates also approved by the authority, of which nine are providing the EBP.
Residents who have their elderly parents residing in the country can now benefit from insurance packages for their elderly starting from Dh2,500. "Before the implementation of the law, an elderly dependent would have to shell out from Dh15,000 upwards for basic insurance. Now we have managed to bring these prices down because we were keen to design a smart package to cater to this category."
In November 2013 when the health insurance scheme was first introduced, the insured population in Dubai was 1.1 million. By the end of 2014 - which was end of phase 1 - the number increased to 1.9 million. By mid-2015 (end of phase 2), the number went up to 2.6 million, and as of now (May 2016), the number of insured people in Dubai is 3 million.
"By the end of June, the aim is to reach 3.6 million people," said Dr Haider.  
Dubai started implementing health insurance in phases since 2013. July 2016 is the last deadline to be met for residents.
In 2017, visitors to the emirate will also have to pay for medical insurance before being able to obtain a visit visa.
A guide to health insurance in Dubai
The Essential Health Benefit (EHB) is designed for people with a salary less than Dh4,000, including domestic workers and blue collar workers. The package can also be bought for dependents who do not have any income. The premium is more for the elderly.
*A minimum of Dh575-Dh700 per dependent is required towards the annual premium for EHB.
*The package gives you access to a general physician, referrals to specialists, surgical procedures, laboratory tests, emergency as well as maternity care, including Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a month.
*The package allows an upper aggregate claims limit of Dh150,000 per year and excludes any coinsurance and/or deductibles. In-patient cover, which includes diagnostic tests, treatments and surgeries in authorised hospitals in non-urgent cases, requires approval from the insurance company
*The health authority also offers details on the insurance companies and the packages on offer on its marketplace at the portal
Who all should get health cover now?
*All Dubai employees who have not been insured yet
*All dependents (spouses and children)
*All domestic workers
*All elderly residents aged above 60

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