Spearheaded by the Dubai Health Authority, Isahd is a pioneering initiative aiming to deliver a minimum standard of mandatory health insurance to all residents and Dubai visa-holders. The scheme is designed with employee interests in mind, specifically lower income workers who may sidestep receiving essential medical care due to exorbitant hospital rates. As part of the broader initiative, the Essential Benefits Plans (EBPs) provides exactly what the name suggests: several standardized, pre-packaged, health insurance plans provided by several DHA-approved participating insurers. EBPs offer sponsors a convenient and affordable alternative to comply with the new regulations.
The Mandatory Health Insurance Deadline Has Been Extended. (Update: New Deadline March 31 2017)
The Isahd initiative has been in the works for quite some time. Initially planned to be implemented in phases based on company size, it has taken longer than expected to become binding. As of the end of 2016, the deadline for the implementation and enforcement of the initiative has been extended yet again to an undisclosed date; likely in 2017. The DHA defended the move, claiming that it related to “the high influx of customers flocking to insurance companies in the last few days and in consideration of those who were not able to get the insurance in time due to one circumstance or another.” (Nagraj, 2016) The extension comes as a collective sigh of relief for sponsors who would have been faced with penalties of AED500 per month for every uninsured dependent.
Everyone Gets Insured!
If you’re still uncertain as to whom the new regulation applies to, let us put you at ease. So long as an individual has a valid UAE residency, they need to be insured. Therefore, the law applies not only to company employees but also to family members, domestic workers and other dependents.
EBPs Will Cover Your Basic Medical Needs.
As per the DHA’s website, there are currently 50 insurance companies that allow residents to choose from an extensive range of health plans. The plans differ primarily in maximum annual coverage, medicine and drug coverage, co-payment rates, geographic scope of coverage (local/regional/international), applicable hospitals and clinics (public/private), and specialty care (dental, physiotherapy). The annual cost for “the most basic health insurance cover, known as the Essential Benefit Package, ranges from Dh565 to Dh650 — not much more than the cost of a single month’s fine.” (Staff, 2016) Typically, EBPs will offer a maximum annual coverage of AED150,000 within most emirates in the UAE and 20% co-payment that is capped at AED1,000 per year. Additionally, existing and chronic conditions will need to be approved and thus will be excluded from insurance within the first six months of the first plan. Medicinal drugs are capped at AED1,500 including co-payment. It is hard to argue with the proposition that residents are getting significant bang for their buck with the EBP schemes! However, it is important to note that if you exceed the maximum coverage due to extensive medical attention, the additional fees should be paid out of pocket. Consequently, if you plan on receiving more than AED150,000 in medical care, or if you’d like the peace of mind that comes with a higher cap, then EBPs may not be for you.
Bayzat: Health Insurance Made Simple.
Despite the stringent DHA guidelines that insurers must meet to be eligible to operate in the UAE, specifically to obtain participating insurer status, it can still be overwhelming to find out which plan is best for you and your dependents. This is why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to build a comprehensive and up-to-date platform to help you compare the best health insurance policies and find the right plan for you.