Expatriate workers in the UAE will be charged Dhs500 for the renewal and issuance of health cards while an additional fee will be levied in case of lost cards, according to a new decree issued by the UAE vice president Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
“Article (2) of the decision, published in the Official Gazette, defines the fees for issuing and renewing a health card for non-nationals to be Dhs500 per year for all ages. A fee of Dhs300 will be levied for the issuance of a health card in lieu of a lost one,” state news agency WAM reported.
The decree further warned that expats, who do not have a ministry-issued health card, will not be eligible to avail the fee concession offered in government hospitals.
The decision will come into effect 60 days from its publication in the official gazette.
The move comes at a time when healthcare costs incurred by expats in the region are on the rise.
While Abu Dhabi laws stipulate that employers must provide mandatory health insurance to their employees, Dubai does not impose a similar regulation. In fact, Dubai even introduced a new law stipulating that people working in the emirate have to pay Dhs60 for a note from the Dubai Health Authority to validate their sick leaves.
The UAE has the highest per capita medical expenditure in the Middle East, according to a report released last year by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. A recent study across the region found that drug prices in the country were 23 times higher than the recommended WHO benchmark.
In a bid to reduce the rising costs of medicines, the UAE had adopted few regulations to cut prices of more than 6,600 types of imported medicines by up to 40 per cent, WAM reported eerlier this year.