No one can doubt that access to health cover and services is essential to individual and corporate productivity. In many countries, the state alone has traditionally borne almost all the burden of healthcare. However, this is no longer a sustainable model given increasing longevity and exploding healthcare costs.

Governments struggle with increasingly underfunded national health services that drain their country’s finances, and therefore often consider shifting more responsibility for healthcare costs onto private insurance – often through employers.

This article highlights three different examples - France, Indonesia and the UAE - governments have recently enacted legislation that puts new occupational health insurance obligations on employers. In all three countries, the aim is to extend health insurance coverage to hitherto uncovered members of society and of the workforce.

While such new legislation undoubtedly adds to the costs and administrative burdens of companies, there can be no doubt that the intended effects – a healthier and more productive working population – benefit everyone. Sooner as well as later. 


France: Generalization of additional health insurance plan - the process speeds up

Voted in early 2013, the law for “Sécurisation de l’emploi” (ANI) requires employers to provide group health insurance to all employees in the private sector. In addition, the law also defines the minimum level of benefits.

Indonesia: Introduction of national health insurance program

The Indonesian national health insurance programme (JKN) finally officially started on January 1, 2014. In the first phase, it will cover 121.6 million participants. The programme is managed by the social security manage-ment agency BPJS Health, and is mandatory for Indonesians and foreigners living in Indonesia for over six months.

UAE: Compulsory occupational health insurance – new law for expatriate lower-paid workers

The Dubai Health Authority has enacted legislation on mandatory health insurance which became effective at the end of March 2014. The law applies to expatriate lower-paid workers.