Jelf International has bought attention to new health insurance regulations in Dubai which may prove costly for employers and employees in the region.
Over the past decade, Dubai has kept a careful watch on levels of migration in to the country and adjusted its health insurance legislation accordingly.
The latest changes, this time brought in by the UAE Federal Insurance Authority intended to help reduce exposure to money laundering and terrorism financing, cover a wide range of issues and with significant financial penalties at stake, employers should ensure they are compliant.
A number of insurers will require extra information by 30 April 2016.
Health insurance regulation has been in place for a while now with insurers originally being required to use a fronting and compliant partner in Dubai who is registered to the DHA (Dubai Health Authority).
This then changed to include mandatory documentation such as Emirates ID cards, Visa copies, passport copies, JPEG photos etc.
Following that, the regulations then evolved to stipulate mandatory levels of coverage as a minimum, and that all employers in Dubai need to provide (and pay for) coverage for employees that satisfies these minimum benefit levels.
The information requirements have just changed again earlier this year, with the need for details on an employee's salary to be disclosed and whether they are linked to politically exposed people amongst other details.
Not only does the documentation need to be provided in order to obtain health insurance but they are also required on an annual basis before the policy can be renewed.
Jelf International warns that is it vital for employers to use a broker who is well versed and up to date on market changes in the area in order to remain compliant.
Employers who do not meet the new legislative requirements could be fined from around £95 (AED 500) per month per employee for failing to provide compliant cover up to £1,900 (AED 10,000) per employee for the employer not providing health insurance to its employees or for recovering the premium cost from its employees.
Health insurers are also being closely monitored with heavy penalties for practicing any activity without a valid Dubai permit, or for failing to up load policies to the national member register.
Adam Harding, business development manager at Jelf International said: "Doing business in Dubai is not as simple as it once was and we'd advise anyone working there to keep an up to date and easily accessible documentation file to ensure they do not have gaps in health insurance coverage by spending time pulling this all together on an ad hoc basis.
"For employers, pre-planning is essential for Dubai - you can't just decide to enrol someone, it takes time to get the documentation and information required. Employers need to be mindful of this before promising employees immediate insurance coverage and employees need to be aware that a lot of the responsibility is with them to get the documentation to their HR function as quickly as possible to ensure coverage.
"The Dubai authorities are sending out a loud and clear message that they only want companies, employers and employees based in the region, if they take their health insurance coverage seriously."
Thursday 12 March
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