Kuwait expat healthcare costs rise sees patient numbers drop by 30 per cent

Published:  4 Oct at 6 PM
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Tagged: Euro
Following the introduction of increased charges for expats using Kuwait’s health services, Kuwaiti hospitals have seen expat patient demand fall by 30 per cent.

The swinging increases in medical charges for expats attending Kuwait’s public hospitals were introduced at the beginning of this month, with some categories of expatriate seeing their fees for treatment soar fivefold. Earlier, local media reported many foreign workers were sending their families back home rather than face financial difficulties should they need hospital treatment.

For some time now, expats have been forced to pay fees applied to a large range of medical and surgical treatments offered by the emirate’s public hospitals and clinics, but the sharp rise in charges was unexpected and unwelcome. The slump in oil revenues was given as the reason for the huge increases, but Kuwaiti nationals are still receiving healthcare free of charge. However, expatriate children under the age of 12 years who are suffering from birth defects or cancer will continue to be treated for free, as will children and foreign spouses of Kuwaiti nationals.

In a concession to expats suffering from cardiac diseases or in intensive care, the Kuwaiti health minister has announced they can be exempted from the charges by hospital directors and heads of departments. In addition, the old charges will apply to domestic workers and stateless persons.

On the same day, an announcement was made that a deal involving the purchase of 28 Eurofighter jet aircraft would be finalised in the near future, following its acceptance by parliament. It seems the purchase of supplies for the military hasn’t been affected by the oil price fall, indicating that Kuwait is happy to follow the example of a number of other world countries in their prioritising of wants rather than needs.
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