Sunday , January 22 2017

Ministry denies ‘increase’ in health service fees for expats – ‘Any decision will target visitors not residents’

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 7: Ministry of Health insists that reports published recently regarding the new charges of health services for expatriates in government hospitals and clinics are not true, affirming that the possibility of increasing the charges of health services is still being studied and perused. A high-ranking source from the ministry said, “The ministry has not endorsed any figures so far. However, any decision in this regard will target visitors to Kuwait and not residents, as their new health insurance will cover the cost of their medication”.

He went on to clarify that, “The new charges of medical services for visitors will not exceed 25 percent in general. It will definitely not exceed the charges in the private health sector regardless the type of service.”

The source said, “The new charges of the medical services provided in government hospitals will be covered by the new health insurance plan, which means those with valid residency will not feel the financial burden when they visit government hospitals or clinics”.

Issues
He indicated that the new annual health insurance, which will cost KD 130, is slated for implementation from the beginning of the new fiscal year, which is next April; however, more time is needed to iron out several issues due to which one year might be required for ensuring everything is proper. The source refused to reveal the new charges because they are yet to be endorsed and he wondered how the published charges can be true, as they are higher than the charges of health services offered in the private sector.

For example, he asked how it is possible for a pregnancy sonar checkup to cost KD 30 in a government hospital when it costs KD 10 to KD 15 in a private hospital. He stressed, “The charges which were published are not correct. The comparisons made were based on the charges of 1990s, which did not take into accounts the increments of 2006 and 2010”.

Earlier it was reported, the new charge for treatment of tumors with TheraSphere is KD 5,000 for visitors and KD 500 for resident expatriates, while earlier the same treatment cost KD 100 only.

Treatment of bone cancer with isotopes will now cost KD 1,000 for visitors and KD 500 for expats. Earlier the cost was KD 50.

Charges for X-rays and laboratory tests have also been increased, such as thyroid gland testing will cost from KD 15 to KD 40 for expatriates and KD 90 for visitors. They Thyrogen injection will cost expatriate residents KD 500 and visitors KD 790.

Reflux
The charges for esophagus and gastric reflux, stomach, liver, spleen, gall bladder, and blood vessels tests range from KD 10 to KD 50 for expatriates and KD 100 for visitors. Cardiac test fees have been increased from KD 10 to KD 50 for expatriates and KD 100 for visitors, while ischemic heart testing charges have been increased from KD 30 to KD 50 for expatriates and KD 100 for visitors.

Charges for blood plasma tests will go up from KD 20 to KD 250 for expatriates and KD 470 for visitors; mammography charges increased from KD 20 to KD 50 for expatriates and KD 100 for visitors; testicular test fees have increased from KD 10 to KD 40 for expatriates and KD 90 for visitors, while that of vein tests have risen from KD 15 to KD 40 for expatriates and KD 90 for visitors.

Lung aeration test fees have been increased to KD 50 for expatriates and KD 110 for visitors; kidney tests with DMSA and MAG 3 increased from KD 10 to KD 40 for expatriates and KD 90 for visitors, while spinal cord test fees increased from KD 20 to KD 50 for expatriates and KD 100 for visitors.\ The pregnancy ultrasound charges have increased from KD 10 to KD 30, the CT scans will now cost KD 80, and MRI scans KD 120

By Marwa Al-Bahrawi Al-Seyassah Staff

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