Insurance premiums for the elderly are expected to drop once the Dubai health insurance scheme is in place, making medical treatment affordable for them.
Dr Haider Al Yousaf, Director of Health Funding at the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said: “Insurance companies normally underwrite very high premiums for people who are above 60 because the risks are much higher, but now when everyone will be insured, risks will normalise and premiums will drop.
In an interview with Khaleej Times, Al Yousaf said once the whole of the Dubai population is insured by June 2016, prices of medical services are expected to be de-subsidised. “This means that cash payers (non-insured patients) who visit Dubai’s government hospitals from other emirates will not get the services at the current prices which are subsidised,” he explained. He said the current rates are not the actual cost of the service.
However, emergency services will remain free of cost until the patient stabilises following which arrangements will be made to recover the payments.
“Anybody with insurance can use the DHA facilities even if they reside in any emirate,” he added. He also said that DHA did not expect any burden on its facilities even with an increase in the number of insured patients.
Though there is no start date for the roll out of each the insurance phases, the deadline of June 2016 has to be met by all residents.
Starting August 1, companies with more than 100 employees are no longer able to sponsor visas for their employees until they have presented the Health Insurance Certificate to the immigration department.
The new enforcement system issued through collaboration of the DHA and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), has been set in place to ensure that all employers and sponsors comply with their responsibilities.
At least 2.7 million people are now covered by Dubai’s insurance scheme since its launch. In November 2013 when the health insurance scheme was first introduced, the insured population in Dubai was just 1.1 million.
Dr Haider also said that most of the companies in the first two phases have complied and have insured their employees except for a few.
“Only a small number of companies have not complied with the regulation but they should know that the fine amount that they will be charged for non-compliance will be more than the cost of insurance,” he said.
The DHA will soon start taking action against such companies, he said, adding that the legal responsibility lies with the sponsor.
Speaking about Sa’ada, the insurance scheme for Emiratis that was introduced in June, Dr Haider said that around 60,000 of the 130,000 Emiratis in Dubai had enrolled for the scheme.
© Khaleej TimesAug 2015