Expats in Kuwait protest law restricting them to thre private hospitals

Published:  21 Feb at 4 PM
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Legal experts and politicians as well as affected expats are criticising Kuwait’s new law restricting expat healthcare to just three private hospitals.

Kuwait’s new law obliges expats working in the emirate’s private sector to use only heathcare provided by three named hospitals, but politicians and lawyers are saying the rule is a violation of the Kuwaiti Constitution. Nasser al Abdali, chair of the Kuwait Society for the Development of Democracy told the Arab Times forcing expats to use three specified private hospitals as they have already paid health insurance fees is wrong. Al Abdali believes expats should be able to choose their preferred medical facility from the numbers operating in both the private and public sectors.

Lawmaker Hamdan al Namshan is also criticising the move, saying that creating a monopoly to the detriment of ordinary Kuwaitis by forcing expats to use the three private facilities is a bad idea. Al Namshan also quoted the constitution’s Article 29, which states ‘all people are equal under the law, and there is no difference between them based on gender, origin or religion’. He is also objecting to the proposed increase in expatriate health insurance, stating the extra cash will simply land in the bank accounts of the companies which own the three specified hospitals.

Meanwhile, Dubai residents have been warned the final deadline for purchasing mandatory private health insurance is March 31. Those who fail to buy insurance after the recently-extended deadline expires will be subject to fines, and visitors to Dubai will be required to get health insurance before December 31st this year.

At present, just two per cent of Dubai’s expat population are not yet covered by health insurance under the new law, with employers required to provide coverage for expatriate employees. Guardians and sponsors are responsible under the law to provide health coverage for their families and domestic workers.

In Saudi Arabia, expats and nationals are struggling to deal with severe flooding caused by unseasonably heavy downpours which continued for seven days. Local civil defence workers received huge number of calls from residents trapped in their cars or homes, and damage to the kingdom’s infrastructure was considerable.
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