Middle East

With the imminent increase in health insurance, questions remain about the future of medical care for foreigners.

By Ahmad Jabr and Chidi Emmanuel

Kuwait: Foreign residents of Kuwait may have to pay an annual health insurance premium of 130 KD instead of the current 50 KD to renew their visa as early as 2023. ). No increase has been seen, but residents are aware that it is unavoidable as plans to introduce a new health insurance system into the national expatriate community have been underway for years.

However, many foreign workers have expressed concern about the proposed hike. “I’m sure it will come true. Bills like this always start like rumors and unconfirmed reports, but before you know it, it’s a law. I hope the authorities don’t approve it. Otherwise, it will hurt many people and families who are already struggling to survive in Kuwait, “Filipino expatriate Margaret Angelo told the Kuwait Times.

Under the current plan, Daman will provide medical services to residents covered by the insurance plan through a network of new hospitals and clinics distributed around Kuwait. The company is currently preparing to open the first hospital in the network. This may happen by the second half of 2022. When the hospital is opened and the company’s new integrated system goes live, the Home Office will be notified to start collecting the new KD130. Sources who spoke on anonymous terms added that renewed visa fees are likely to occur “by the beginning of next year.”

“In fact, what went up in Kuwait will never go down again. Before the premium went up to 10-15 KD, it was raised to 50 KD and promised to improve the quality of service. It never happened. But rather things got worse. We are still receiving regular paracetamol and basic medicines. Even if they have health insurance for KD300, we (foreigners) are still good medical services. This is a quiet misfortune, “Dixon, a representative who claimed to have spent a lot of time when his wife was hospitalized, told the Kuwait Times.

New medical system

The Daman Hospital and Health Insurance Program are part of the new medical system that Kuwait plans to introduce, hoping to improve the quality of medical services in countries where medical facilities have long suffered from overcrowding. increase. Under Daman, the medical changes in its large expatriate population, where foreign residents make up about 70% of Kuwait’s total population of about 4 million, are the public focused on providing services to Kuwaiti citizens. Helps relieve pressure on the health sector.

According to Daman, most basic treatment costs are covered by KD 130-year insurance for expatriates. This is different from the current system where residents pay in addition to health examinations, lab tests, hospitalizations, medications and other services in public hospitals and polyclinics. KD50 mandatory insurance. The company promises that higher costs will accompany improvements in quality services, but a nearly three-fold increase is certain for many in countries where the average monthly salary of foreign workers remains less than 300 KD. Causes financial problems.

Under the law, businesses are required to pay employees KD50 government health insurance. However, workers are often required to pay for visa renewals, and as hikes take place, companies are more likely to ask their staff to pay additional costs. Even if this is not the case, the employees who sponsor the family must have health insurance for each member of each family. Therefore, the KD 130 pricing will certainly create a financial burden that far exceeds the current annual budget of many families.

“COVID and the recession have pushed many foreign workers to their limits. This new surcharge (if approved) will certainly send packing to many families. Family of six will rent and tuition. I’m really wondering how to deal with other additional costs, “Lamented Mahmoud Latif, an African expatriate.

There is also the question of how the company’s medical facilities can serve all expatriates in more than 3 million countries, especially in the early stages of operation. Dhaman CEO Thamer Arab said in an interview last month that the new healthcare system will help improve the quality of service in Kuwait’s public and private healthcare sectors. Pressure on Kuwait’s healthcare infrastructure has long been blamed as the main cause of deterioration of healthcare services.

This situation raises legitimate questions about the new company’s ability to handle the expected load on only two hospitals scheduled to open by 2023. Giving the foreign community only two or three hospitals will certainly do more harm than good. It would have been better to abolish the issuance plan and send them to a private hospital of their choice, “said Shakira, an American expatriate. The Ministry of Health has not released details about the transition plan, such as whether the transition plan is phased or whether some of the expatriates will continue to be covered by the government’s health insurance program.

What is Daman?

Founded in 2015, the Health Assurance Hospitals Company (Dhaman) is considered the first public-private partnership (PPP) healthcare organization in the Middle East because it was founded under the Amiri Directive as part of a national development program. 2035′.

Dhaman will be responsible for establishing an integrated healthcare system, including health insurance programs, and building and operating a network of primary health care centers and hospitals covering all areas of Kuwait to achieve healthcare sustainability. Applying the best professional practices, the medical sector is based on the highest international standards and employs more than 7,000 talented people in the medical and administrative fields.

Daman’s shareholder composition is 24% by the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) and the Public Social Security Institution (PIFSS), 26% by strategic partners in the private sector, and 50% of the company’s shares are allocated to Kuwaiti citizens through an initial public offering. Was done.

https://www.kuwaittimes.com/as-health-insurance-hike-looms-questions-remain-on-future-of-healthcare-for-expats/ With the imminent increase in health insurance, questions remain about the future of medical care for foreigners.

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