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Pacific Prime’s Dubai Healthcare Reform Seminar

Pacific Prime held a seminar in August to inform clients about the Dubai Healthcare Reform and its potential impact on their insurance options.

What is the Reform All About?

In light of the recent healthcare reform in Dubai, Pacific Prime held a seminar in August to provide both potential and existing customers with detailed information and answer any questions they had regarding the reform and its impact on their insurance options.

For those that missed our seminar, the below article provides a recap of some of the key information that was provided.

Following in the footsteps of some of its Middle Eastern neighbours, Dubai’s healthcare reform has now made it compulsory for all residents across Dubai to be part of a health insurance policy. Employers of expatriate residents are responsible for providing insurance for their employees, unless individual insurance plans are the employee’s preferred coverage option. In addition, if spouses and dependants are not covered under a corporate scheme, an individual policy will have to be purchased by the employee.  Dubai nationals will be automatically enrolled into the government insurance scheme, but it will be possible to move onto a corporate plan provided by their employer if desired.

Why Reform?

Simply put, the Middle East is experiencing a high medical inflation rate, and the Dubai government can no longer fund the rapidly increasing costs of medical treatment across the country. The quality of healthcare in Dubai has continued to improve in recent times, and as a result, many facilities in the country now meet European standards. To fund this expensive trend, the government has been looking at ways to shift the financial burden of medical treatment onto the private sector.

At present, around 70% of healthcare across the Gulf Corporation Council is funded by the public sector. Furthermore, as factors such as life expectancy, affluent diseases (e.g diabetes, heart disease) and income per-capita are all on the rise, the demand for healthcare services has increased and the government cannot match such a demand without development of the private medical insurance market. 

What Sort of Coverage Can You Expect?

The government has stated that all plans must offer a standard minimum level of cover including: basic inpatient and outpatient treatment, and routine maternity care. However, it is highly likely that with these basic plans, co-pays will apply to most treatments and plan members will only have access to a limited network of hospitals. Premiums will depend on The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) as they will be responsible for setting the price range for the Essential Benefits Plan each year. 

Enhanced plans will be available, and will offer significantly more coverage options than the basic plan, including: lower co-pays, additional benefits (i.e dental) and increased geographical cover. At present, the DHA has placed no restrictions on enhanced plan premiums, but new rules are expected to be put in place in 2015.

What if I am Already Part of an Insurance Plan?

New rules and regulations will also be implemented for healthcare providers, insurers and brokers, and all will require a DHA permit if they wish to continue operating in Dubai. 

For those with existing health insurance policies who are either living in or moving to Dubai, plans will be required to be restructured by the first renewal date after the implementation deadline. For example, as insurers will be expected to comply with the DHA approved pricing and premium charges, existing plan benefits may need to be adjusted to be in line with new regulations.

Employees who are already part of a corporate insurance scheme set up by a company outside of Dubai may have to move plans if their existing coverage is provided by an unlicensed insurer.

Obtaining a residential visa in Dubai will now require evidence that an employee has insurance coverage in place, either from their employer or as part of an individual plan. So if you are considering moving to Dubai, it is essential that you secure your insurance options before doing so.

Which Insurers Can Provide Coverage for Me?

The DHA will split licensed insurers into ‘Participating Insurers’ and ‘Health Insurance Permit Holders’. Only Participating Insurers will be able to provide the minimum health insurance coverage, and employees earning 4000 Dhs or less per month can expect to be part of a plan from a Participating Insurer.

More comprehensive plans will be available from a wider range of Health Insurance Permit (HIP) holders. To find out which HIP holders Pacific Prime works with, or if you have any other questions regarding the healthcare reform, give us a call or send us an email and one of our advisors will be happy to provide you with the information you need. 

Who We Work With In Dubai

Want to know what your options will be when buying insurance in Dubai? We work with a number of DHA licensced insurers and can help you find a suitable plan to match your needs.

Find Out More About Dubai

Relocating to Dubai? Visit our Dubai page to learn more about the healthcare system and what you can expect when traveling to the UAE.

Find Out More

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