Monday 22 May 2017
Neil Stewart, Corporate Solutions Advisor at Guardian Wealth Management UAE

Dubai - MENA Herald: Dubai businesses could face penalties for failing to comply with the looming renewal deadline on mandatory health insurance, the financial planning firm Guardian Wealth Management (GWM) has warned.

Almost one year has passed since the Dubai Health Authority made it mandatory on June 30th 2016 for business-owners to introduce health insurance for their employees.

With the deadline to renew fast approaching for many businesses, GWM’s Corporate Solutions team says effective planning should be put in place to avoid gaps in cover and the risk of fines or worse, visa and licence restrictions that were implemented by the DHA last year. The team has issued a five-point plan to help companies comply with a vital area of their operation.

Neil Stewart, Corporate Solutions Advisor at Guardian Wealth Management UAE, said: “The DHA means business when it comes to mandatory company health insurance.

“Last year it was important for businesses just to get the insurance for employees by deadline. One-year on and business-owners have more time to plan effectively and put in place the most appropriate cover.

“We can help companies ascertain what cover is best suited to their employee base, whilst ensuring they avoid being penalised”

Guardian Wealth Management have come up with a 5-point plan covering rules, plans and responsibilities for business-owners when renewing. They are as follows:

Know the rules
Shop around for the right policy
Outline responsibilities of employees
Be clear of the T’s & C’s
Know your timeline
The DHA introduced a three-stage legislation for mandatory health insurance introduced from 2014 to 2016 to ensure all expat workers were covered, regardless of the size of company they worked for.

The rules set-out stipulations such as a minimum level of health cover that needs to be met. It also specified that the cost of the medical cover cannot be passed to employees, whether directly or as a salary deduction.

With over 45 local insurers in the UAE alone, businesses can shop around for the best policy to suit their requirements. GWM work with the region’s top-tier insurance brokers who understand the market and ensure that businesses are fully compliant within the given time frame.

Key questions for employers to ask themselves are, what jurisdictions does the healthcare cover? Which clinics can be used? Does it include lifestyle benefits such as dental and optical? What are the conditions for maternity cover or IVF? Does an excess have to be paid by the member each time the insurance is utilised?

“The likelihood is if you don’t know the answers to these questions, your staff won’t either. Employers should look under the bonnet and read the small print of their policies, then relay these considerations to their employees.

“Acting now is imperative to ensure everything is in order prior to your policy expiring or before the end of June. Of course, many business-owners are busy running companies, therefore may have other priorities. Best advice is to talk to a professional who can help you understand each consideration and steer you through the whole process”

Guardian Wealth Management is a multi-national financial planning firm with a dedicated Corporate Solutions division specialising in corporate planning in the UAE. Their specialists provide services to business owners under organizational development, financial management and investment planning. They help companies and employees with everything from health insurance through to shareholders, business loan protection and company pension planning.

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