Dubai’s mandatory health insurance system will be known as ISAHD, an acronym of Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai, state news agency Wam reported. The name also means ‘happiness’ in Arabic.
“Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has branded the name of the health insurance system to mean happiness; this stems from His Highness’s words that the primary job of the government sector is to provide happiness to the people of Dubai,” Essa Al Maidoor, director-general of the DHA.
“Health insurance is a form of security and our aim is to ensure everyone in the emirate has access to essential healthcare in case they need it.”
Maidoor also said that the health insurance system would empower patients by providing them the right to choose their healthcare provider in the private or public sector.
Every insurance company that wants to provide health cover in Dubai will have to procure a health insurance permit to be eligible to operate, the DHA said in a statement.
DHA’s director of health funding Haidar Al Yousuf, said that such measures would be instrumental in ensuring the quality of health insurance players in the emirate.
The official said that around 50 companies have already registered with the DHA.
“Insurance companies interested in providing the essential health benefits (EHB) package to resident employees with salaries below Dhs4,000 will have to undergo further qualifying criteria to ascertain their ability to provide an insurance package at an affordable rate,” said Al Yousuf.
“The premium for this package will range between Dhs500-700 per person per year.”
Al Yousuf said the DHA will publish a final list of approved health insurance firms by the end of February.
The first phase of roll out will begin once the entire list is published, he said.
Speaking about the roll out, Al Yousuf said: “Companies with 1000 or more employees will have to cover their staff before the end of October 2014.”
Firms with a workforce of 100 to 999 employees will have until the end of July 2015 while companies, where staff numbers are less than 100, have until the end of June 2016 to provide a health insurance cover.
“All spouses, dependents and domestic workers will also have to be covered by June 2016,” said Al Yousuf.
“They can start providing cover earlier, however, these dates are deadlines they must meet.”
Currently, only a third of Dubai’s population of three million is insured.