The Director General of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) HE Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, has approved health insurance permits for over 40 insurance companies who offer health insurance plans in Dubai.
The Director General met with senior executives of the Participating Insurers to reinforce the importance of their role and responsibilities in the implementation of mandatory health insurance in the Emirate, particularly for lower paid workers.
The necessity to hold the Health Insurance Permit (HIP) is mandatory and only those companies with a valid permit are eligible to provide insurance cover as part of Dubai’s Mandatory Health Insurance Scheme which is being rolled-out in phases until mid-2016. The scheme is known as ISAHD which stands for Insurance System for Advancing Healthcare in Dubai and also means happiness in Arabic.
So far, 43 insurance companies and four TPA’s have achieved unconditional compliance.
Al Maidoor said: “Putting these criteria in place is important as it sets unified quality standards for the health insurance industry in Dubai and protects all parties involved especially customers. Since we have set minimum criteria many insurance companies have improved their standards in terms of customer service, complaints handling, data security and operational effectiveness in order to obtain a permit. Putting such a process in place also assures the public that these companies have met minimum standards required. From a regulatory point of view, we can ensure that checks and measures are in place and in case of violations we can take action with the ultimate sanction being revocation of the permit.”
He said insurance companies who qualified as Participating Insurers to provide essential health benefits(EHB) package to resident employees with salaries below Dhs4,000 underwent a rigorous assessment procedure to ascertain their ability to provide an insurance package at an affordable rate. The premium for this package will range between Dhs500-700 per person per year.
Al Maidoor said: “The objective of the essential benefits plan is to provide adequate cover at a reasonable cost to employers. DHA recognizes that in doing so insurers also have to make a reasonable profit. Only those capable of handling volume business and who can operate effectively over the long term can make the system sustainable. Consequently they are required to meet additional standards. Those companies that met the standards with the highest quality have been awarded Participating Insurer status.”
He said several criteria were taken into consideration before granting the health insurance permit to companies. These included ensuring companies utilise the DHA claims management platform (eClaimlink.ae) possess all necessary licenses to operate, that they have adequate standards of customer service, complaints handling, data security and customer communication processes as well as financial performance.
In terms of the roll out of the scheme he said, successful HIP applicants are already providing cover or administering health insurance portfolios. DHA will be working with the Participating Insurers over the next month or so as they develop their product and their marketing plans to ensure that employers will have access to the essential benefits plan as quickly as possible.
Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, Director of health funding said that the roll-out will take place in phases: “Companies with 1000 or more employees will have to cover their staff before the end of October 2014. Companies with 100 to 999 employees will have until the end of July 2015 and companies below 100 employees have until end of June 2016 to cover their employees. All spouses, dependents and domestic workers will also have to be covered by June 2016. They can start providing cover earlier, however, these dates are deadlines they must meet.”
He added: “Over the next two years, we will begin to see the immediate benefits of the mandatory health insurance scheme as and when its phased roll out takes place.”