KUWAIT CITY, Dec 25: With the opening of the Health Insurance Hospitals Company ‘Daman’ its first primary healthcare center in the Hawalli Governorate, the expatriates are overwhelmed with fear because of the planned increase in the cost of health insurance, which is expected to be 130 dinars per person per year, especially in light of the high cost of living in Kuwait and the low salaries, reports Al-Rai daily.
According to government statements, the new system will provide new resources for the state budget of more than one billion dollars annually, which will lead to better health services than they are now.
The Kuwaitis oppose raising the fees, stressing that increasing it in this manner is a mistake because of its great social effects, as the percentage of ‘singles’ will increase significantly in Kuwait.
The expatriates believe the decision to raise health insurance fees will lead to the cancellation of the wife and children’s residency permits and they will have to return to their home countries and the head of the family will have to move to the ‘housing of singles’.
The daily has published the views and opinions of citizens and expatriates on the issue of the increase in health insurance fees. Abdel-Rahman Al-Hindal, a researcher interested in economic affairs, said he does not agree with the decision to raise health insurance fees and called it an unstudied decision. He said it will disturb the demographics due to inability of a majority of the expatriates to bear the increase, which will compel the head of the family to send his family home and this will automatically increase the number of ‘bachelors’ in the country.
He said that there is no correlation between the decision and the level of health services provided to citizens except to reduce the numbers in hospitals, because the level of services is related to the level of efficiency of medical personnel and organization. It is also not fair to impose the health insurance compulsorily and taking fees for every visit and every medical service, as this is not feasible from the economic side.
If the health insurance is a choice between the government and the private sector, the expatriate must have the choice to register with the government health insurance or Daman health insurance, the economy will recover, especially in the field of insurance, private centers and hospitals, where competition will increase and freedom of choice varies.
Khaled Al-Qallaf agreed with him, and pointed out that raising fees in this way is a mistake because of its great social effects, because the percentage of singles will increase significantly in Kuwait, and the citizen will not benefit at all from the decision to raise health insurance fees.
There are special health services for those who wish for Kuwaitis, and there is Afya card for retirees, which provides additional services for citizens, as government hospitals have become for Kuwaiti employees and expatriates.
Adel Al-Shammari expressed his surprise at the decision to raise health insurance fees for residents, and they came to request sustenance and contribute to building our country, and many of them spent most of their lives in Kuwait.
He said that these fees from his point of view are very expensive for them, especially since many expatriates whose salary does not exceed 400 dinars per month, which increases their suffering in Kuwait.
Abdullatif Al-Rashidi sees that with the decision to raise fees, there should be controls and conditions, including that the Health Insurance Company build hospitals for residents that provide all kinds of services and healthcare to them.
And that these sums are invested in this regard, which reduces overcrowding in hospitals, and thus better and faster medical care is provided to citizens in government hospitals.
A medical facility accepting only expatriate laborers opened in Al-Shadadiya, Kuwait, on Wednesday, part of a new healthcare plan that includes renovations of hospitals and clinics across the country, said an official on Wednesday.
The facility represents an effort on the Kuwaiti health ministry’s part towards broad healthcare reforms, said Dr Mohammad Awaidha, the director of Al-Farwaniya medical area.
The clinic, constructed on 217 square meters area, will begin accepting only foreign residents of the central Kuwaiti district, who number 600, according to Dr Hussain Al- Mutairi, the director of primary care in the area. The facility will be open all week long from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm local time, except on official holidays, he added.