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.
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?
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.
Just so there is no confusion on the rules, I copied this from the DHA website:
- This is a mandatory system enforced by law – employers must comply
- Every employer pays a standard payment (HBC) to the DHA for every employee once a new HBC policy is introduced
- System will be enforced through a licensing system
- All employees covered by a corporate healthcare scheme by 12/31/08
- Employees not currently covered by an existing corporate health scheme must be provided with a HBC compliant scheme from 1/1/09
- Everyone covered by HBC compliant corporate healthcare scheme by 12/31/09
- Every employer is responsible for enrolling every employee with DHA
- This includes contractual responsibilities for dependents
- Every employee most register at a clinic before employer enrolls them with the DHA
- 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.
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