The December 31 deadline to obtain mandatory health insurance cover has been postponed, Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has said.
In a statement sent to Arabian Business, the DHA said insurance companies would be allowed to accept health insurance applications in to 2017.
Sources said a new deadline had yet to be finalised, and that residents that fail to register for the mandatory scheme by December 31 – the original deadline – would not face fines.
The DHA had said earlier that a $136.24 (AED500) per month penalty would be charged for failing to meet the deadline.
It said in a statement on Wednesday: “We made the decision due to the high influx of customers flocking to insurance companies in the last few days and in consideration of those who were not able to get the insurance in time due to one circumstance or another.”
More than four million – or 98 percent – of residents have taken health insurance so far, it added. But the news will come as a relief to many others who have yet to get a policy in place.
The Dubai Health Insurance Law No. 11 of 2013 was adopted under the directives of Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Under the law, which was effective from January 2014, every sponsor is legally obliged to provide an insurance package – priced between $150 (AED550) and $191 (AED700) - so that those with salaries under $1,090 (AED4,000) receive adequate cover. The scheme is now being enforced for families and dependents.
Last week, Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, director of health funding at the DHA, said all insurance companies are working to meet the demands of companies and individuals seeking health insurance.