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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Can I backdate my newborn daughter's health insurance cover?

The new father has been told he can only backdate cover for his weeks old child by seven days

Keren Bobker confirms that health insurance for newborns can only be backdated by one week. Getty Images
Keren Bobker confirms that health insurance for newborns can only be backdated by one week. Getty Images

My wife had a baby a few weeks ago and we want to add her to the company medical insurance policy. My contract states that the company will provide cover for a spouse and two children as part of my package. I want my daughter’s cover to start from the day she was born as we have some expenses that we paid ourselves, expecting to get reimbursed, but now my employer says they will only backdate for seven days. Can I make a complaint to someone, or make them cover her from when she was born as this is going to cost me money? LD, Dubai

All companies providing medical insurance in Dubai must operate to the strict guidelines laid down by Dubai Health Authority per Health Insurance Law (No 11 of 2013) of the Emirate of Dubai. An update in 2017, General Circular Number 5 of 2017 (GC 05/2017), states that insurance companies are not permitted to backdate plans, with the only exception being for newborn children, but cover for them can be backdated for just seven days. Any company receiving notification of a newborn baby, that needs to be added to a group plan, can only back date by seven days. This is the same for both group and individual plans.

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Read more from Keren Bobker:

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I was on a two-year teaching contract in Abu Dhabi that ended in 2004. Essentially the school wasn’t what it promised, so at the end of the first year I quietly left the country but notified my superior of my resignation once I had exited. I didn’t have any debts and I closed my bank account and credit card. Reading online it is confusing about whether I can return or even pass through the UAE. Some reports say I would have received a six or 12-month ban following the school reporting me. Others say the case might be still outstanding and therefore I would be automatically arrested. Is there any way to check against the appropriate databases to this out? CL, USA

If anyone leaves a job without giving notice they are likely to be marked as an absconder. This especially applies if they have broken the terms of a fixed-term contract, not least as an employer needs to go down this route to recover their deposits. Any absconder will receive an employment ban, usually one calendar year in a case such as this. Thereafter they may take up further employment in the UAE and there should not be any issue in returning to the UAE with a suitable visa, as an employment ban is not an immigration ban. The latter are usually only issued in criminal cases.

Provided the bank account was closed properly and all debts were repaid there should not be a police case or an issue in re-entering due to debt.

There is not really a central database that lists bans, and certainly nothing that is available to the public. If someone believes they could have an immigration ban, they should check with the Department of Immigration for the relevant emirate; the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation can advise in respect of an employment ban; and the police can advise if there is a registered complaint for debts, although if someone is not in the UAE they may need to engage a lawyer to check this because information is no longer being provided to third parties.

I am confused. I have left my job as there were issues and I had to raise a case with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The court stated that my former employer has to pay for a repatriation ticket or give me cash to pay for this. Now I have been offered a new job and I don’t need to return home. Can I still claim the cash for the ticket? SF, Abu Dhabi

If a ticket is specifically for repatriation, then it is either used to leave the UAE and return to a home country or forfeited if someone takes up new employment. This is covered in Article 131 of UAE Labour Law which includes this wording: "The employer shall, upon the termination of the contract, bear the expenses of repatriation of the worker to the location from which he is hired, or to any other location agreed upon between the parties. Should the worker, upon the termination of the contract, be employed by another employer, the latter shall be liable for the repatriation expenses of the worker upon the end of his service." When SF does eventually leave the UAE, unless she is leaving of her own accord and has the funds to pay for a flight, her repatriation will be the responsibility of her last employer.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 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.