UAE: Dubai Health Authority Deadline to Provide Employee Health Insurance Nears

Like many other countries, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have adopted a mandatory health insurance law that has, over the past two years, started requiring businesses to provide their employees with mandatory health care benefits. The largest companies with over 1,000 employees were required to provide employee insurance by October 31, 2014. Next in line were companies with 100-999 employees, who were mandated to provide insurance by July 31, 2015. Finally, companies with less than 100 employees will be required to provide their employees with health insurance this year, by June 30, 2016.

Duncan Crerar, Head of Employee Benefits at Asinta Partner Nexus Group, says “Most companies offering this benefit for the first time will focus on 1 thing – cost, when in reality the cheapest policy is never going to be the best in terms of coverage and network access.” Many companies are now in a rush to find appropriate policies for their employees before the June deadline, but are focusing too much on the cost of the plan, instead of on the value. While the most basic policies do provide employees with affordable care, the restricted network of providers may make it difficult for employees to choose a facility of their preference and will not be able to fully cover a seriously injured or ill employee. Furthermore, many employers may not consider providing spousal or dependent insurance to employee’s families, causing families to spend more time locating and visiting their respective plan-approved providers, instead of having access to one provider for the entire family.

Nexus would therefore like to remind employers in the region that providing employee benefits is about more than just fulfilling the minimum legal requirements set forth by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). Providing employee benefits, when done correctly, should create a more positive work environment, with increased employee loyalty, decreased sick leave, enhanced quality of life, and through all of these things, increased employee productivity.

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