HEALTH COVER MANDA­TORY FOR PRI­VATE SEC­TOR SOON

As only one in 10 work­ers has health in­surance, the Oman gov­ern­ment wants to en­force it from 2018

Times of Oman - - FRONT PAGE - SYED HAITHAM HASAN

MUSCAT: Manda­tory health cover for na­tion­als and ex­pats work­ing in the pri­vate sec­tor will be en­forced from early next year, the gov­ern­ment has an­nounced.

Dr. Ahmed bin Mo­hammed bin Obaid Al Sa’eedi, Min­is­ter of Health, said the new health­care sys­tem would be rolled out from “the be­gin­ning of next year.”

The news was wel­comed by res­i­dents, doc­tors and ex­perts alike, but there were warn­ings that the sys­tem should be ro­bust, so that com­pa­nies can­not find a way around pro­vid­ing cover.

The min­is­ter said cur­rently, only 9 per cent of Oma­nis and 10 per cent of ex­pats in the pri­vate sec­tor are in­sured and that Oman needs a health in­surance plan.

“We hope to start the health in­surance plan in the pri­vate sec­tor for na­tion­als and ex­pats work­ing in that sec­tor in phases from the be­gin­ning of next year,” he said.

“The aim of the health in­surance plan is to raise the qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency of the pri­vate health sec­tor, which must com­pete with the pub­lic health sec­tor, and this can­not hap­pen un­less there is proper fi­nanc­ing in the pri­vate health sec­tor, which could come from health in­surance.”

The min­is­ter, speak­ing at a health con­fer­ence in Muscat, added: “We must find new ways to fi­nance the health sec­tor.”

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