'Is there a waiting period for newborns to be covered by health insurance in Dubai?'

Babies should be covered under their mothers' medical policy for the first 30 days

Newborn babies in Dubai should be covered under their mother’s health insurance plan for the first 30 days. PA

We were blessed with a new baby a few weeks ago and I now want to add him to the medical insurance policy that my employer offers. My contract states that the company will provide cover for a spouse and three children as part of my salary package.

I want my son’s medical cover to start from the day he was born as we have some expenses that we paid ourselves in addition to the standard maternity package and cover at the hospital.

We were expecting to get reimbursed, but now the HR department is saying that they have a waiting period of 30 days and that they will only backdate the cover for seven days.

Can I make a complaint to the authorities as I thought it was the law to provide the insurance, or make them cover him from when he was born as the extra expenses were nearly Dh12,000? ML, Dubai

All companies providing medical insurance in Dubai must operate in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Health Authority as per the emirate's Health Insurance Law (No 11 of 2013).

In 2017, employers could impose a waiting period and that cover could not be backdated. The only exception for this was newborn children, but cover for them could be backdated for seven days only.

However, this has since been updated following the issue of Procedural Directive Number 2 of 2019 (PD 02/2019), which states: “From the publication date of this policy directive, no insurer may impose waiting periods of any kind on newborns, whether they are waiting periods against pre-existing conditions or any other conditions.

“We would also like to reiterate that newborns must be covered under the mother’s policy for 30 days and/or up to the mother’s annual limit.

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It is important to request that a new baby is added to a medical insurance policy as soon as possible to avoid any potential issues as only limited backdating is available
Keren Bobker

"In addition, backdating of up to a maximum of seven days is only allowed for newborn additions to achieve covering the newborn from the date of birth, this is the only exception to backdating,” it added.

ML’s son should be covered under his mother’s plan for the first 30 days. Unless the additional expenses are outside the scope of the insurance policy, a claim can be made under his mother’s insurance.

It is important to request that a new baby is added to a medical insurance policy as soon as possible to avoid any potential issues as only limited backdating is available. This is the same for both group and individual plans.

A person rented my house in Lebanon for a long time and then could not pay the rent for various reasons. Lawyers were involved and he was made to pay 80 per cent of the money. He still owes me the rest of the money but shows no sign of paying it or even paying any attention to the debt.

He is Lebanese and now lives in Dubai, having left Lebanon without notifying me. I have legal documents with his name and signature, with official stamps from the Lebanese government stating it is a debt instrument.

My question is: can I recover my debt in Lebanon under UAE law as he lives in Dubai? If yes, what is the best way to proceed? AM, Lebanon

This is a complex legal query, and AM should seek advice from a lawyer, but I put the question to Moataz El Sharaky, a legal associate at Horizon Law in Dubai, who says: “To recover a debt, one must hold a writ of execution – a judgment, or an order stamped by the execution department. The question refers to a document signed by the debtor himself so it is not an enforceable instrument. To enforce this acknowledgement of debt, the creditor can either file an application for a payment order or file a substantive case against the debtor. At the outset it is imperative to note that this acknowledgement of debt should be notarised at both the Lebanon and UAE embassies.

“Payment orders are a method used to shortcut civil proceedings and are a valuable tool in UAE litigation and can be used if there is debt due, it is in writing and for a specified amount. While the debtor needs to be notified of the creditor’s intention to apply for a payment order, they do not get an opportunity to defend the claim. Typically, payment orders are issued within a matter of days and if the debtor does not appeal it within 30 days, it becomes final and binding and subject to enforcement.

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While the debtor needs to be notified of the creditor’s intention to apply for a payment order, they do not get an opportunity to defend the claim
Moataz El Sharaky, legal associate at Horizon & Co

“In the event that the acknowledgement of debt does not meet the criteria for a payment order, the creditor should file a substantive claim in the UAE Courts.”

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: December 4th 2021, 5:00 AM