United Arab Emirates:Dubai health insurance law to cover all by June 30

In the last phase of Dubai’s health insurance law, all individuals, including foreign employees and their family members, must be covered by a health plan by June 30.

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What does the change mean? All employers are required to cover employees and are encouraged to cover family members of employees. Family members of employees who are not covered by their employers must purchase health insurance coverage. Visas and work permits will not be issued or renewed if an individual does not have health insurance.

  • Implementation time frame: The health insurance law already applies to large and medium employers, and will extend to employers of fewer than 100 employees on June 30. Employers and individuals will be allowed some leeway until their first renewal date (but no later than 12 months after the June 30 implementation date).
  • Who is affected: All employers in Dubai mainland and free zones; sponsored employees, family dependents and domestic workers.
  • Business impact: Smaller employers that will be newly phased into the system should factor in the additional costs of covering employees who are not already covered.

Background: Dubai passed the mandatory health insurance law in 2013 and began implementing it in three stages since late 2014 with the goal of covering all 3 million Dubai residents, including expatriates and their family members. Some free zones have already implemented the law since 2015.

BAL Analysis: Employers who do not offer health insurance to employees should develop plans to do so as soon as possible. Employers and individuals found in violation of the health insurance law are subject to monetary fines ranging AED 500 to 150,000 (US $135 to $40,000).

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in the United Arab Emirates. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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