Mandatory Health Insurance (law no. 11 of 2013) was approved and came into effect January 1, 2014. The new regulations were approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The reasoning and justification for this new law was the idea of creating an integrated health system for the ever growing and developing Dubai. The law is based on a sustainable and fair financing system and protects participants and citizens. Employers are thus now required to have relatively extensive and compliant insurance offered and in place for employees. The law applies to all institutions involved in health insurance including brokers, insurance companies, claim administrators, sponsors, etc.
The law impacts all citizens but the likely largest impact that was and is still felt is the impact on the overwhelmingly large number of expatriate employees. These employees continue to be impacted by the new law and regulations.
The law was passed in 2013 and came into effect in January of 2014, however was not yet applicable to the entire population at the time, but rather just those companies with more than 1,000 employees ( from October 2014), companies with 100-999 employees (July 2015) and most recently,companies with less than 100 employees (June 2016). The law was evidently introduced gradually and not all at once, allowing employers, especially smaller businesses, to ensure coverage and to abide by the laws penalty free for a short period of time. Basic health coverage is relatively expensive but employers also now offer more extensive and complex coverage, making it cost effective and an efficient use of corporate money and funds.
The law was introduced and enforced against all of the over 3 million citizens of Dubai which means that everyone from immigrants to expats to locals are now covered or required to be, by their employer.