The UAE federal government has prepared a draft law which will make it mandatory for all UAE employers to provide health insurance to employees. Currently, the only emirate with mandatory health insurance is Abu Dhabi.

Under the draft law a new federal authority will be established to oversee its implementation. Insurance companies and health care providers will be required to be licensed by the new authority and employers will be required to submit proof electronically to the relevant federal authority, confirming that cover has been provided for each employee.

While the draft law has not yet been made publicly available, it reportedly imposes fines on employers of up to AED10,000 for each employee without health insurance and fines of up to AED30,000 on employers who seek to pass on charges to employees for providing them with health insurance.

Significantly, the draft law is said to contain provisions stating that in the event of a dispute between the insurer and the healthcare provider, health insurance coverage must be continued.

Action for employers

Employers should review the draft law when it becomes available in order to analyse potential costs associated with the mandatory health insurance.