Employer Mandated Health Coverage in Dubai

George Bashaw

Author:
George Bashaw – Atlas Global Benefits

On January 1st, the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) initiated the first phase of employer mandatory health insurance for expatriates and UAE nationals working in Dubai.  All expats new to Dubai must obtain a Health Benefit Contribution (HBC) compliant insurance policy.

Background

The population of Dubai has exploded from 300,000 to 1.5 million since the Department of Health and Medical Services (DoHMS) was created over thirty years ago.  Considering the growth and significant demographic changes in Dubai, the DoHMS has done an adequate job (World Health Organization ranks the UAE 44th).  Did I say something in “Dubai” is “adequate”?  The two words are mutually exclusive. In Dubai, they simply strive for the best.  Therefore, the DHA was established to accomplish this goal by 2015.  What does this mean for you?

Existing Plans

If you manage an existing health plan in Dubai, it is valid until it expires. Upon renewal during 2009, the new plan must be HBC compliant.  By January 1st 2010, all corporate health plans must be HBC complaint.

Payment and Administration

Who pays the HBC?  The employer pays the tab.  The HBC is a flat-rate for all employees, including UAE nationals and expatriates.  There is another hitch.  All HBC policies must be sold by authorized insurance companies. Since most employers will provide benefits above the notional standard, there is a group of authorized insurance companies waiting to sell you a top-up plan.

Choosing a Clinic

Not so fast.  All employees must choose a primary clinic to complete enrollment.  They can do so by visiting an OCP (Outpatient Care Practice)clinic in person, on the web www.dha.gov.ae, or through their employer.  Want the good news?  The employer may choose a default OCP clinic.

Employer Responsibilities

Just so there is no confusion on the rules, I copied this from the DHA website: 

  1. This is a mandatory system enforced by law – employers must comply
  2. Every employer pays a standard payment (HBC) to the DHA for every employee once a new HBC policy is introduced
  3. System will be enforced through a licensing system
  4. All employees covered by a corporate healthcare scheme by 12/31/08
  5. Employees not currently covered by an existing corporate health scheme must be provided with a HBC compliant scheme from 1/1/09
  6. Everyone covered by HBC compliant corporate healthcare scheme by 12/31/09
  7. Every employer is responsible for enrolling every employee with DHA
  8. This includes contractual responsibilities for dependents
  9. Every employee most register at a clinic before employer enrolls them with the DHA
  10. Employers to help employees register with a clinic

 Still have questions?

You are welcome to visit the DHA but I would rather you just ask me.

More about George:

2 responses to “Employer Mandated Health Coverage in Dubai

  1. What are your views on choosing Metlife Alico as our Insurance provider for our employees?

    Thank you
    Ayesha

    • Met acquired Alico from AIG in 2010. Alico was good then and I feel better now that they are with Met from a stability standpoint. I feel confident placing my groups with Alico. I consider them part of the big three (CIGNA, Aetna, and Alico) of US based global players. Let me know if you have any more questions. George Bashaw