Three types of health policies announced by Dubai for visit visa seekers to the UAE

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Three types of health policies announced by Dubai for visit visa seekers to the UAE By Anjana Sankar, Senior Reporter GULF NEWS Published: August 12, 2008, 11:32

Dubai: The Department of Naturalisation and Residency in Dubai (DNRD) has announced a mechanism to offer mandatory health insurance coverage to visitors, ending speculations among insurance providers, tour operators and residents regarding the new system.

Ministerial decision number 322 for the year 2008 makes health insurance mandatory to obtain any type of visit visa to the UAE. The new rule came into effect from July 29.

Brigadier Obaid Bin Surour, Acting Director of DNRD, announced yesterday that the department has concluded an agreement with two insurance companies; Oman and Aman to issue health insurance policies for visitors to Dubai with a minimum coverage of Dh150,000 per person per visit.

As per the agreement, the two insurance companies will offer three different types of health policies according to the visit periods. Prices start from Dh40 for short-term visas valid for 30 days; Dh90 for visas valid for 90 days; and Dh185 for multiple entry visas valid for 180 days. Bin Surour explained that these policies will cover accidents and emergencies during the visitor’s stay in the country.

The agreement implied that the beneficiary will receive treatment in a shared hospital room in case of emergencies. It indicated that the two companies will cover 100 per cent of services to be offered to the patient through a network covered by insurance companies in the country.

The agreement also obligates the insurance company to return the body of the insured person to his country in case of death, paying up to Dh7,000 of the costs incurred.

Bin Surour added that the agreement does not cover medical treatment outside the health services providers’ network, except in the case of emergency life threatening cases.

The policy also does not cover chronic illnesses and it will include treatment of serious complications of already existing chronic illnesses in the emergency room only. It also does not cover pregnancy, delivery and ophthalmology or dental treatment.

Health insurance policies for visitors can be obtained from special counters to be set up at the Dubai Naturalisation and Residency’s headquarters in Bur Dubai, and other branches in Abu Hail, the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Airport, DNATA office on Shaikh Zayed Road, Umm Suqeim, Jebel Ali and Bin Souqat Centre in Rashidiya.

Electronic link

Bin Surour added that the system will be linked electronically with the DNRD main electronic online services soon.

When asked why the two companies were selected by the department, Bin Surour said, “The department received a number of proposals from several companies and appointed the companies that offered the most suitable offers and quality of services in order to streamline the procedures for all visitors and ensure a comfortable stay in the country.”

However, he added that health coverage policies issued by other companies will also be accepted provided they meet the same criteria including the minimum limit of Dh150,000 and the types of services offered like emergencies and repatriation of bodies.

Meanwhile, visitors who are already covered under a international insurance policy need not take local coverage. Likewise, companies and tour operators that bring in visitors should arrange for health insurance policies for their guests.

Meanwhile, National Health Insurance Company (Daman) has announced it will offer three schemes valid for 30, 60 and 90 days at premiums of Dh40, Dh70 and Dh90 respectively.

This covers emergency medical treatment at Daman’s UAE network, with the upper limit being Dh100,000 per person. The coverage would exclude out-patient consultations and services such as dental care and child delivery.

By Shakir Husain Staff Reporter

Dubai Insurance companies said yesterday they are well-prepared to offer health coverage to foreign visitors but want official guidelines on the subject in order to better design their policies.

They welcomed the introduction of compulsory travel health insurance requirement for people entering the country.

Good system

“We think it is a good system because the country relies a lot on tourism. We have visitors [annually] more than the population of the country, so it is also good for insurance companies,” said Saleh Bin Rashid Al Daheri, vice-chairman of Emirates Insurance Association, an industry group representing 50 insurers.

The UAE receives about 10 million tourists a year and their numbers are growing with the rapid expansion in local tourism infrastructure.

He said most insurance companies have the necessary experience in providing medical coverage and would be able to deliver products to visitors as required by the new visit visa regulation.

Al Daheri, who is a board member of Al Dhafra Insurance Company, however regretted that the industry was not consulted before the government introduced the scheme.

This led to some confusion in the market about financial limit of the coverage, premiums and legal requirements.

“We are hoping that the authorities concerned will issue guidelines to all insurance companies in this regard soon,” said Mustafa Vazayil, secretary-general of the Insurance Business Group under the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Vazayil, who is also managing director of Gargash Insurance, said the local insurance was already providing medial and travel coverage to outbound travellers.

Rules: Dh1,000 deposit

* Tourist visas can only be applied for by a licensed hotel or a tourism agency.
* Residents can apply for a visa for their spouse or blood relative.
* Expatriates are no longer be allowed to sponsor friends, and all visitors should have a health insurance cover.
* People applying for any visa will have to pay a refundable deposit of Dh1,000.
* Medical treatment visas can only be applied through licensed hospitals and clinics.
* Education visas can only be applied by a licensed educational institution.
* Exhibition and conference visas can only be applied for by the organisers.
* Visitors have to go back to their home country to renew the visit visa.