Ouch! … that hurts, Incremental pocket pain in fee rise set

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KUWAIT CITY, Sept 11: Although the Health Insurance Hospitals Company for expatriates confirmed its commitment to collect 130 dinars annually as fees for the health care services it will provide, it doubted the feasibility of this annual premium and its ability to cover all the services expected from the company, noting that the amount was determined ten years ago during which the Ministry of Health itself increased the tariff required of expatriates several times and expanded the types of medications not covered for non-Kuwaitis to maintain financial balance.

While the company stressed that it will spare no effort in implementing cost control measures, it revealed that it is seriously considering increasing the annual installment by what it described as “the reasonable minimum to ensure the economic feasibility of the project.”

The company pledged — in a response sent by Finance Minister Fahd Al-Jarallah to a question from MP Khaled Al-Tamar — to apply the price of the health insurance policy (130 dinars) for two years before increasing it to 150 dinars, and then to increase it periodically every two years to reach 190 dinars by the tenth year. It has the right to increase the fees for visiting health centers if the inflation rate exceeds 6 percent without referring to any official body to obtain its approval.

The company explained that the fees for visiting primary health centers in the first and second years will be two and a half dinars, and will be raised during the following years to reach three and a half dinars by the end of the tenth year, while emergency fees will rise from four to five dinars in the tenth year.

The health sources added that the price paid by an expatriate will include all medical expenses, including but not limited to the costs of tests, X-rays, examinations, outpatient clinics, operations, medications, hospital admissions, and hospital stays.

Regarding the reasons for the delay in launching the document so far, the company said: It has submitted continuous requests to the Ministry of Health to move forward with implementing the provisions of the document, but the Ministry was late in issuing the necessary licenses to open two hospitals in Al-Ahmadi and Al-Jahra, which led to a large and unjustified increase in pre-existing expenses of employment.

The sources explained that the document obliges the Ministry of Health to provide specialized health services (tertiary care) to the beneficiaries of the company’s services in exchange for a flat rate paid in advance by the company to the ministry, not exceeding 5 percent of the guarantee value for each beneficiary, and this is done based on a contract between the ministry and the company.

The company is also entitled to conduct a medical examination for expatriates, in a later arrangement with the Ministry. The company confirmed that the ‘Dhaman’ system is ready to provide hospitalization, emergency services, outpatient clinics, and primary and secondary health care, as soon as the Ministry of Health finishes issuing licenses to practice the profession for doctors. The company pointed out that the completion of the procedures for issuing licenses to practice the profession took very long periods, and necessitated the employment of hundreds of them for several months before actually benefiting from their services, which negatively affected operating expenses. By Raed Youssef Al-Seyassah Staff

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