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Dubai extends deadline for health insurance

DUBAI// The deadline for applications for health insurance has been extended into the new year, Dubai Health Authority has announced.

The authority said it had made the decision due to a flood of customers applying to insurance companies in the last few days, and in response to those who had not been able to get insured in time due to unforeseen circumstances. It was not clear how long the extension would last.

“More than four million – 98 per cent – of Dubai residents are now covered in the Dubai health insurance,” said Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of Health Funding at DHA.

The Dubai Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 was adopted following directives from Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

According to the law, which came into effect in January 2014, it is the legal responsibility for every sponsor to provide an essential insurance package — which costs between Dh550 and Dh700 — so that those with salaries under Dh4,000 receive adequate cover.

Insurance companies are working to cope with demand from employers and individuals looking for cover, said Dr Al Yousuf. He added that there has also been a large number of online transactions.

The DHA launched an awareness campaign in October aimed at encouraging companies with fewer than 100 employees to adopt mandatory health insurance cover.

This was the final phase of the initiative which had earlier focused on larger scale businesses.

There are an estimated 135,000 such companies in the emirate.

As such these firms must now present health insurance certificates together with other required documentation for visa renewals.

New safeguards have also been put in place to prevent health insurance abuse.

These will be added to the emirate’s health insurance system and will be implemented ahead of fines for violations beginning next year.

The authority plans to implement a system that will link payment to quality, with a view to prevent health insurance fraud and abuse.

So far, 99 per cent of employees at the 300 large companies and the 3,000 to 4,000 medium-sized businesses in the emirate benefit from health coverage.

An awareness campaign that also covered local government authorities and some private-sector companies were also targeted in an intensive campaign in October aimed at promoting the health insurance system.

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The National