With the final phase of the mandatory health insurance deadline approaching, the Dubai Health Authority recently issued its list of fines and penalties for employers and residents who do not comply with the law. In addition to facing monetary penalties, residents of Dubai will not be able to have their residency visas issued or renewed without having a DHA-compliant medical insurance policy.
The deadline for the final and third phase of the Dubai Health Insurance Law is June 30, 2016. By this date, all companies with less than 100 employees must purchase medical benefits for their employees. In addition, all sponsors must buy health insurance for their dependents and domestic workers (although a grace period has recently been granted).
According to Dr. Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of Public Health Funding at Dubai Health Authority, the new law has worked well and nearly 75% of expats in Dubai are now covered.
How DHA is enforcing the mandate
The Dubai Health Authority is coordinating with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to strictly enforce the mandate. Businesses have to submit a Certificate of Insurance while obtaining new visas for employees. Companies that have not complied with phase one and phase two of the insurance mandate cannot apply for new visas.
In addition, companies who continuously fail to comply with the Dubai Health Insurance Law may face penalties as severe as having their licenses suspended.
Employers and sponsors who do not comply with the law will face the following fines:
- If the employers or the sponsors do not provide health insurance to their employees or have provided a lower cover than what is mandated by the DHA, they must pay AED 500 per month per individual for every calendar month of delay.
- If the employers or the sponsors have not provided their employees with health insurance or have not paid the costs either of healthcare services or of emergency medical interventions for those under their liability, they must pay a one-time penalty of AED 1,000.
- If the employers or the sponsors have charged the employees or beneficiaries with parts of or the whole of the health insurance costs, they must pay AED 10,000 per person. They must also refund the amounts taken from the beneficiaries.
- If the employers or the sponsors do not hand over the medical insurance cards to the beneficiaries or restrict them from obtaining these cards, they must pay AED 1,000 per violation.
- If the companies or the sponsors do not provide the beneficiaries with the health insurance policies upon their issuance or renewal of their residency visas, they must pay AED 1,000 per case.
Insurance companies in the UAE are also covered by the recent circular on penalties. Any insurer who does not provide the agreed benefits to a policyholder will be fined AED 50,000. A delay in providing the health insurance card or medical provider network list to policyholders will result in a penalty of AED 500 per case. Illegally rejecting claims or preauthorization requests carries a fine of AED 20,000 per case. Finally, if the insurance or the claims management company or the healthcare provider does not maintain the privacy and confidentiality of the details of the beneficiaries, they will have to pay a penalty of AED 10,000 per case.
Interestingly, policyholders are also subject to fines under the new law. A medical insurance policyholder can face a fine of AED 500 for not reporting a lost card to the Dubai Health Authority. Allowing another individual to use your card can result in a fine of AED 5,000. The same penalty also applies for misusing your health card.
Medical facilities are also susceptible to penalties. Healthcare providers who reject a patient during an emergency, even if the hospital or clinic is not part of the insured’s medical network, will face a penalty of AED 10,000 per case. Healthcare facilities who do not provide patients with a copy of their medical records will be fined AED 5,000 per incident.
Grace period for dependents
In the first week of June 2016, the Dubai Health Authority granted a grace period of six months for dependents and domestic workers. This means that sponsors will not face fines for the period of July to December 2016 if the individuals they sponsor do not have a medical insurance plan. However, dependents will still need to have health insurance in order to obtain or renew their residency visas during this period.