Monday, March 17, 2014

UAE: Everyone in Dubai Will Be Compelled to Have Medical Coverage, Employers to do Heavy Lifting

According to The Telegraph, by the end of March 2014, expats of all categories in Dubai, along with visitors and locals, will be compelled to have mandatory medical insurance. 

The burden of paying for the coverage will predominantly fall to the shoulders of employers, as most expats living in the Emirates are employed by someone.

Higher premiums could result, as previously uninsured individuals benefit from "free" care, placing a financial hardship on hospitals. 

At the same time, local businesses, retailers, restaurants and the like will have to recoup their insurance costs through additional charges.

COMMENT: The new law will be phased in over nearly three years. 

Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid, ruler of Dubai, as well as vice-president of the UAE, approved the Health Insurance Law. 

Foreign nationals account for 90% of the UAE's population, leading to claims that indigenous citizens were being squeezed out of hospital beds. 

Dubai was due to follow Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia by requiring insurance coverage for expats by law. But the plan was scrapped due to the global recession.

Employers will also be responsible for covering expat employees' spouses.