Kuwait debates increased medical insurance fees for expats

Published:  25 Oct at 6 PM
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If expatriates still need convincing that, whatever the excuse given, the global-wide rush towards compulsory private health insurance isn’t all about the money, this should bring enlightenment!

Two days ago, Kuwait’s Ministry of Health announced the collection of some KD25.2 million of charges for expat health insurance over the first six months of the current year. The money came from both online and offline health insurance sites, with last year’s expat health insurance charge figures raking in KD 109.2 million. According to a ministry spokesperson, expats’ charges have been increased due to the high cost of medical care, thus preventing public funds from being spent on non-emiratis.

Expats living and working in Kuwait are forced to pay annually for healthcare coverage, but must still pay extra charges for medical procedures at public sector hospitals and medical centres. The ministry accepts this dual payment system can cause hardship for expats on low wages, suggesting employers should pick up the tab for those earning salaries below a certain threshold.

Head of the emirate’s Kuwait Medical Society Dr Ahmad al-Enezi accepts that enforcement of extra fees show shortcomings in the health insurance programme as a whole, recommending a feasibility study on the subject to clarify the present scheme’s issues. Head of Kuwait’s Dental Association Dr Muhammad Dashti feels increased fees for expats are justified if they’re linked to better treatment. He added the move will decrease the numbers of expats who claim non-existent illnesses as well as the numbers arriving in the emirate as medical tourists.
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