In case you haven’t heard, if you live in Dubai, you need to be covered with health insurance. According to directives from the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), anyone working in Dubai has to be covered with at least basic health insurance by March 31. If you’re not, or if the people who sponsor aren’t, you’re in for some fines.
The onus is on everyone to make sure they’re covered. If you sponsor a maid or driver and they’re not covered with basic health insurance by the deadline, then you’ll be fined for every month they’re not insured. And this applies if you sponsor your wife, husband or child; for every month they’re not covered, you’ll be fined. The real rub, though, is that the people you sponsor will also be fined for not being covered. Suddenly, if you let things run on too long, those costs can add up pretty quickly.
So what’s to be done? Well, if you sponsor a maid, driver or gardener, you can sort out health insurance reasonably quickly and painlessly – so long as they’re earning less than Dh4,000 per month. The Dubai Essential Benefits plan is now offered by 12 insurers in the UAE, with prices ranging from Dh550 to Dh650 for a year’s worth of cover. That’s around the same amount that you’ll be fined for not getting the people you sponsor covered, so the investment makes a lot of sense.
Indeed, it’d even make sense if fines weren’t involved. If your maid or driver has an accident or falls ill, depending on the employment contract you have with them, you could be liable for their medical bills. And we all know that medical bills can spiral quickly out of control if you don’t have health insurance. The same goes for if you haven’t got your spouse or children covered; if any of your family members need medical attention, you’ll certainly be footing the bill. You can get good family member cover for as little as Dh700 per person per year. To protect yourself against the possibility of massive medical expenses further down the line, that’s a pretty good deal.
The basic plans aren’t bad, either, coming with a decent network of hospitals and clinics, as well as reasonably high annual limits. One Dh700 policy I saw recently had an annual limit of Dh150,000 – which would more than cover most emergencies.
As a result of how strong the arguments are for making sure you, your family members and your staff are covered, I think it’s an absolutely positive thing that the DHA has imposed a deadline on getting health insurance. It just makes sense to have everyone covered.
And it really isn’t much hassle to get covered, either. We recently launched the UAE’s first online health insurance comparison platform. I won’t use this column to plug the product, but the point is that it’s easier than ever to get health insurance these days. Whether you use our site, or contact an insurer direct, it’s worth taking the few steps necessary to sign yourself up for a policy.