When two cards become one…

Earlier this year it was revealed you could use it at Dubai Airport’s e-gates, and now your Emirates ID card is set to add another string to its bow.

The multi-purpose piece of plastic will replace Dubai health insurance cards next year, a government official has revealed.

The integration will kick off some time between January and March, though an exact date is yet to be confirmed.

We are moving all insurance cards to Emirates ID in the next few months, say by the first quarter of 2017,” Dr Haidar Al Yousuf, director of Health Funding at the Dubai Health Authority, told Gulf News.

*You can now use your Emirates ID at Dubai Airport e-gates*
*You can soon top up your Nol card using your phone*
*Don’t have home insurance? This is why you should get it*
*No health insurance? No Dubai residency visa*

This will mean that you’ll soon have a little more room in your wallet, as you won’t need to carry both cards when you visit the doctor.

Instead, all your insurance information will be moved into a central database.

“No one will need to carry their insurance cards then … The moment the provider swipes the card, there will be a screen showing all the details about the card and services,” Al Yousuf said.

Insurance companies have now been issued with a deadline to get all their customers’ card details into the database to try and keep the plan on track.

They can still give customers insurance cards if they want – but their policy details have to be linked to their Emirates ID, regardless.

So who will it affect?

Well, pretty much everyone – ever since health insurance became mandatory for anyone who wants a residency visa. 

The good news is that the responsibility for sorting out cover falls on your employer, and companies who don’t give employees health insurance can be fined up to Dhs500,000.

In 2014 companies with more than 1,000 employees were required to insure their workers upon visa renewal or issuance, in 2015 those with 100 to 999 employees did so, and from June this year it became totally compulsory. (Well, there’s a six-month grace period currently covering individual sponsors).

Employers are now – at a minimum – bound to provide an essential insurance package fixed between Dhs550 and Dhs700 for workers earning Dhs4,000 a month or less.

Around 3.4 million Dubai residents have health insurance, and Al Yousuf said the DHA want to get nearly 100 per cent of the population covered by the end of next year.

– For more about Dubai straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook.

Image: Getty