There was a deadline for June 30th to have everyone who lived in the UAE to have health insurance. A grace period of six months has been offered by DHA so residents have until the end of 2016 to get family and employees insured.
In June DHA said about 75% of UAE residents were covered by insurance and they expected 95% to be covered by the end of June.
The short answer is yes/no
Yes its mandatory but fines wont start until the end of the year. I would say health insurance is extremely important. If something major happens you could get stuck with unmanageable medical bills.
Another important point to know is that it won’t be possible to save money by not buying health insurance. When you come to visa renewal the fine will be calculated based on what you should have paid in medical insurance premiums.
So the choice you have is pay for the cover and get the benefits and peace of mind or pay a fine of the same amount and never get the benefits.