What to expect from the DHA in 2016
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What to expect from the DHA in 2016

UAE medical Insurance explores three changes the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) will introduce in 2016, and what businesses need to know about them.



2015 is at an end, and as companies begin to look forward to 2016 it is quickly becoming apparent that the year ahead will be an interesting one for those operating in the Emirate, especially in terms of health care and health insurance. From what we can see, there are a number of important DHA related initiatives that business owners, managers, and even employees should know about.

Here is an overview of the three most important upcoming changes the DHA will be making to healthcare and insurance in Dubai during 2016.

1. Implementing the final stage of the mandatory health insurance coverage scheme

It has been a fairly long time coming, but in 2016 the DHA will implement the third, and final, part of their mandatory health insurance coverage scheme. Theoretically, with this implementation 100% of people residing in Dubai, expats included, will have health insurance coverage provided by their employer.

Stage three aims at ensuring that SMEs, micro SMEs, and individuals who are not employees at larger organizations, have secured health insurance with a mandatory level of minimum coverage for their employees and dependents by June 30, 2016.

In other words, if you own a small to medium business in Dubai you are going to need to secure health insurance for you and your employees by June 30. According to the DHA, these plans should not only be DHA compliant (underwritten by a DHA approved health insurance provider) but also cover a minimum level of benefits. As The National points out, these minimums must include the following:

  • An annual limit of Dh150,000 per person on all claims per year
  • Pre-existing and chronic conditions – covered in full subject to a six-month waiting period
  • In-patient treatment – covered with a 20 percent excess up to a maximum of Dh500 per encounter or a maximum of Dh1,000 per year.
  • Outpatient treatment – covered with a 20 percent excess
  • Cost of medicine – limited to Dh1,500 per person
  • Maternity services – eight outpatient visits; inpatient treatment covered up to Dh7,000 for normal delivery, and up to Dh10,000 for medically necessary C-section and other complications. All maternity services are covered with a 10 percent excess.

This is an important scheme for all business owners and managers to be aware of, largely because it is now mandatory to have health insurance in place for employees before a work visa will be issued. Because phase three is the final phase, you can rest assured that the DHA and immigration department will begin to tighten monitoring of these regulations and issuing fines for businesses found to be non-compliant.

2. Merging of health insurance card with national ID card

In early 2015 the DHA announced that they would begin to merge health insurance cards with National ID cards, thereby replacing the existing health insurance cards in use. The main reason the DHA is doing this is to mitigate both health insurance fraud and misuse, both of which cost the industry untold millions each year.

For expats and locals living in Dubai, this means you will have one less card to carry around, along with the assurance that you will be able to receive care, as you can prove you have health insurance in place.

The DHA actually started issuing new IDs to groups in late 2015 and has commented that they hope to finish this merge by the end of 2016.  

3. Launching of a new health incentive scheme

Finally, the DHA has announced a new health incentive scheme that aims to help encourage and reward residents of Dubai to get out and exercise more, eat healthier, and generally lead a healthier life. According to the Gulf News, which ran an article on this in late November, "Dubai residents who adopt healthy steps such as eating salads, walking a couple of kilometres or opting for a sugar-free snack will be rewarded with incentives such as free gym membership or complimentary movie tickets or even a shopping voucher."

The idea of gamification - taking elements of games such as rewards for activities or points for doing an activity - has become increasingly popular especially in large companies where HR teams have been employing it to try to boost productivity and awareness along with health. It is interesting to see this concept being applied to a whole city, and we are eager to see the benefits of it.

This scheme is scheduled to be launched in March, with the help of the private sector. The DHA has noted that more information will be released in the near future. We will share it when we hear more.

In short, we anticipate that these changes will have a largely positive impact on the state of health care and insurance in the city. To learn more about how UMI can help you secure compliant health insurance plans, please contact us today.

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