Bahrain will introduce health insurance charges for all expatriates "soon", Health Minister Faisal Radhi Al-Mussawi was quoted as saying Thursday, June 21, warning that they could also be extended to Bahrainis amid rising costs.
"Health insurance will soon be compulsory for all expatriates in Bahrain," Mussawi said, quoted in the Gulf Daily News paper. "It could also one day be made compulsory for Bahrainis, as care costs spiral."
"The premium will be set by the insurance companies, which we estimate will be around 100 dinars ($265) a year per person," Mussawi said.
The charges, which will be subsidized by up to 30 percent over the first three years, will be met by sponsors and employers of non-Bahraini nationals.
He said the insurance would cover a basic package for emergency and non-emergency out-patient visits to primary care centers and secondary care visits, including hospitalization, for referred cases.
Heart surgery, organ transplantation, cosmetic surgery, cancer services and dental services ― except for emergencies ― will not be covered in the basic package.
Bahrain's health ministry accounted for 8.5 percent, or 61.7 million dinars ($164 million), of total government expenditure in 1999, Mussawi said.
Bahrainis account for about 60 percent of the 666,000 population of their Gulf island state, while the rest are foreign workers, mostly from the Indian sub-continent. ― (AFP, Manama)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)