A final deadline has been set for expats working in Dubai to buy mandatory health insurance. They have until the 31st March to do so, or both themselves and their employer will have to pay a fine. According to the Dubai Executive Council, only around 2% of the expat community, the majority of the emirate’s workforce, still have to purchase health insurance.
However, a similar deadline was set almost a year ago. The government stated then too that the remaining uninsured expats (making up 25% of the community at the time) had until the 20th June 2016 to buy insurance or face financial consequences. A Dh500 (USD $136) fine per employee, per month was applied, as well as the possibility of business licences being revoked in certain cases. This itself was called the third and final phase of the mandatory health insurance plan in Dubai.
This is, of course, not to say that expats should not purchase health insurance. Instead, the warnings should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt. As occurred last year, the Director General of Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Humaid Al Qutami, has the right to extend the deadline past the 31st March if necessary. Nevertheless, with the introduction of the new, more extensive health insurance plan aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the majority of the remaining 2% without insurance working for an SME, the goal of total emirate-wide health insurance could soon be reached.
Image: Sonja Langford