Expatriate residents in Bahrain to face mandatory health insurance

Published:  29 Nov at 6 PM
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Expats living and working in Bahrain will face mandatory private health insurance requirements from mid-2020.

The recently-passed law in Bahrain now compels all expats living and working in the emirate to pay mandatory monthly contributions to the official health insurance fund in order to access both public and private health centres and hospitals. The law will become effective on December 1, with the scheme itself expected to go live in mid-2020 after a launch planned for this year was put back.

According to the new law, Bahraini nationals will have their contributions covered by the government, whilst employers will be forced to finance expatriate workers and residents. The programme itself is intended to revolutionise the Kingdom’s medical sector by way of encouraging better-utilised resources, ultimately forcing competition between public and private medical facilities as regards quality of service.

Expats, their dependents and residents as well as nationals will need to sign up for health insurance packages, giving expat workers access to primary healthcare, emergency services and family doctors. The packages are to be partially paid for by employers, but resident foreigners will still have the right to take out private insurance. Visitors will also be required to purchase health insurance covering emergencies and accidents for their lengths of stay.

The new system is expected to create a more competitive environment in the medical sector as it gives those insured a free choice between public and private hospitals. In addition, expat domestic workers will receive free cover under the scheme. Expats will all be paired with a local family doctor able to provide therapeutic and preventative therapies and, should specific treatment be necessary, a referral to a specific hospital will be made.
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