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Dubai to begin linking health insurance scheme to visa renewal

Dubai to begin linking health insurance scheme to visa renewal

The regulation will be enforced from August 1, 2015 in order to ensure that all companies comply with the new rules

Dubai Health Authority has announced that it will begin to link health insurance to visa renewal and issuance in order to ensure compliance to its mandatory insurance scheme.

In a statement published by state news agency WAM, the authority said that no visa will be issued or renewed if the applicant does not have a health insurance.

The regulation will be enforced from August 1, 2015, soon after the deadline for the implementation of the second phase of the scheme passes.

Companies falling in the third phase of the implementation will have until June 2016 to comply with regulations, DHA said.

In 2013, Dubai issued a law stipulating that companies provide their employees with mandatory health insurance. Implementation of the new ruling was spread out over three years.

Companies with 1,000 or more employees had to cover their staff before the end of October 2014, those with 100 to 999 employees have until the end of July 2015 and firms with less than 100 employees have until the end of June 2016.

All spouses, dependents and domestic workers will also have to be covered by June 2016, DHA said.

Healthcare costs in Dubai and the UAE have been growing steadily over the last few years, providing a cost burden to residents.

According to a research by the Cost Of Living report, consumers in the UAE spend the most in the GCC on healthcare, with each person footing a bill of $1,200 on average every year.

The emirates has emerged as the most expensive country for consulting and general practitioners at an internationally certified hospital in the GCC.

The UAE also had the highest costs for routine, specialist and executive health check-ups and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in the region, the report showed.

Officials have taken steps to reduce these costs. Last year, DHA said that it would implement a price regulation model for all health services offered by the private sector.

The new regulation will cap price increases for healthcare services provided by the private sector at 4.22 per cent, in line with the published rate of inflation by the Dubai Statistics Centre, the authority said in a statement.

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