As of 1 January 2014, the new Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 (the Law) came into effect obligating all employers in Dubai, whether individuals or corporate entities, employing employees and paying their salaries in any form to provide the employees with compulsory health care insurance. This applies to all participants in the health insurance arena including health service providers, insurance companies, insurance brokers, claims administration companies, employers, sponsors and beneficiaries. The Law will apply to all employees, including UAE national and non-UAE national employees who are employed in the Emirate of Dubai whether by entities based in development areas and/or free zones. However, the minimum coverage requirement offered will vary between UAE national and non-UAE national employees, as UAE national employees may enjoy an additional insurance coverage and treatment health plans. The minimum health insurance schemes will cover general practitioner, emergency care, treatment with specialists as well as diagnosis, medical surgeries and maternity procedures.
Employers are required to provide health insurance coverage for their staff which complies with the minimum requirements under the Law. The Law prohibits the employers to reimburse the cost of the insurance coverage from their covered staff. In addition, it is expected that the authorities in Dubai will implement new procedures and measures to ensure the compliance of the employers with the Law, such as putting the health insurance coverage as a requirement for the renewal of employees' visas. Employers have to provide basic health coverage with an annual premium anywhere between AED500, and AED700 and a maximum insurance cover per person per annum of AED150,000. The Law did not require employers to provide health insurance coverage for the employee's families, which we can describe as a "fair" practice for employers, which have the option to provide additional medical insurance coverage to its employees' families. If the employers opted not to provide medical insurance to its employees' families, then it becomes an obligation of the employee, if the employee is the sponsor of his/her family in the UAE, to provide his/her family with the required minimum health insurance coverage.
Failure by employers to provide minimum required insurance may subject Dubai employers to fines which vary between AED500 and AED150,000. In case of re-committing the same breaches, more severe fines will apply which can be up to AED500,000.