KUWAIT CITY, April 2: The talk of the town has been about the financial burden imposed by expatriates on the country’s health sector.
However, expatriates have been paying for annual health insurance ranging between KD 30 and KD 50 each, reports Al-Qabas daily. Therefore, the total amount paid by expatriates for health insurance per year is about KD 120 million which does not include the fee of KD 1 they pay in clinics and KD 2 in hospitals for each visit.
To add to the above, expatriates are now worried about the decisions to be taken to increase the charges of medical services, based on what Minister of Health Dr Jamal Al-Harbi had announced. Secretary General of Kuwait Doctors Society Dr Mohammad Al-Qannaie said the society is in support of the increase in the charges of medical services offered to expatriates especially after the study carried out by the ministry highlighted a huge difference between the actual cost of the medical service and the fees currently charged. He stressed the need for taking into consideration the low salaries of many expatriates when fixing the fees, indicating that very high fees will result in negative consequences in the entire society.
Meanwhile, Head of Kuwait Nursing Society Bandar Al-Enzi said the society also believes the fees of medical services offered to expatriates must be increased but some categories among them should be excluded from these fees, adding that employees of the health sector must be excluded, as it is unreasonable that those who offer the medical services must pay for them. He stressed that the medical charges should match the salaries of most of the expatriates.
Head of Pediatric Emergency Unit at Adan Hospital Dr Marzouq Al- Azmi said the pressure on the health sector cannot be reduced by increasing the charges or forcing expatriates to pay for their treatment. He insisted that the issue needs more study in order to take into consideration the human rights.
Al-Azmi indicated that making sponsors pay for the medical services of their employees is a good solution for reducing the pressure on the health sector. He also indicated that increasing the fees will result in deterioration of the health conditions of many expatriates due to their inability to pay for necessary diagnosis, X-ray and treatments, adding that they will eventually come to the hospitals when their conditions become critical.
Endocrine and Diabetes Consultant at Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital Dr Anwar Hayati urged for reconsideration of this decision, indicating about the many dangerous consequences that will impact both doctors and patients. He added the doctors will suffer as they will end up receiving mostly critical cases and will be obligated to bear the cost of medical services for patients who will not be able to afford the costs.