Member of Parliament’s Health Committee MP Khalil Al-Saleh has demanded imposing charges on expatriates, who arrive at the country on visit visas, for receiving health services in hospitals, reports Al-Rai daily.
He revealed that he has submitted a proposal more than once on obligating expatriates to provide an insurance policy along with their visit visa application forms, which will enable them to receive free health services in governmental hospitals during their visit in the country.
Al-Saleh indicated that his proposal is based on the systems applied in European countries, inquiring if Kuwaiti citizens receive free treatment when they travel abroad. “We will currently not impose complete health insurance system on expatriates but we will start with the visitors. Most countries require insurance policies to be submitted along with the visit visa application forms at the time of applying for the visa”, he said.
Al-Saleh insisted that the implementation of this proposal will reduce the congestion at the government hospitals and benefit the private hospitals in the country.
Meanwhile, Rapporteur of the committee Saadoun Hamad said, “It has become necessary to apply health insurance on expatriates, as it will positively impact the level of health services and reduce congestion of visitors in the hospitals if it is applied properly by all authorities”.
In the same context, parliamentary sources asked when Ministry of Health will activate its plan for health reform, as per which the health charges for expatriates will increase by 15 percent for medical examinations which are provided to them only during emergencies.
They revealed that this plan is based on a comprehensive study, which was discussed during the meeting of the medical councils, on the cost of using medical systems and medical examination tools. These services are currently provided at low costs while their costs in private medical centers are ten times higher.
The sources indicated that the costs of the treatments provided to expatriates in the governmental hospitals and clinics are 20 percent lesser than their costs in the private hospitals and medical centers.
They explained that the goal is not about the charges currently collected from the expatriates but the need to review the costs due to the current circumstances caused by the declining oil prices and its effect on the country’s budget.
This necessitates reducing all expenditures including the expenditures of the Ministry of Health. The sources said, “Even though the State of Kuwait is keen on protecting the rights of expatriates, reviewing the charges occasionally is essential in line with the new developments and circumstances prevalent around us”.
They added, “If expatriates have the right to healthcare, let them obtain it at their own expense for the original costs or slightly lesser but not as low as it is now”. The sources wondered if any Kuwaiti citizen receives free medical treatment in hospitals in any other countries, affirming that they do not because Ministry of Health bears the cost of overseas treatment provided to Kuwaiti citizens.
They urged Minister of Health Dr. Ali Al-Obeidi to develop its health agenda, which the ministry perceives as one of its rights, asking if there are any hidden individuals who convinced the minister that this issue will not work in his favor. They reminded the minister that he is popular among the Kuwaiti people because he pays special concern to the health situation of the country.