Muscat: Residents and citizens of Oman will enjoy better medical services if health insurance is made compulsory in the Sultanate, experts said.
Insurance and health experts explained that this decision will help share the burden of patients between private and public hospitals Talking to the Times of Oman (TOO), an expert in Oman’s insurance sector said public health institutions in the Sultanate are overloaded with patients, which ultimately affects the quality of service and results in a long period of waiting for an appointment or surgery. “The government has to make health insurance mandatory for both Omanis and expatriates. Many countries are following this trend, which has proved to boost the health quality and keep people from travelling abroad for treatment,” he stressed.
Last year, more than 80,000 Omanis travelled to Thailand, with 80 per cent of them making the journey for treatment, a senior official at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Dubai and Middle East office told TOO earlier this year.
However, most of the patients in Oman preferred India for their treatment, confirmed a large number of exhibitors last April, who are in the medical tourism sector in Oman.
Recently, the local media reported that the Minister of Health had announced the formation of a committee to raise proposals on social health insurance by the end of the year. He also explained that this move would lure world-class businesses in the health industry as they will ensure it becoming an available option for the whole population in Oman, not just the ones who can afford paying for expensive health insurance. “This will encourage a healthy competition between local insurance offices and will ultimately benefit the people of Oman,” Mujtaba Shaban, general manager of Vision Insurance, said. Shaban added that he is “totally supportive” of this move.
“People will not have to wait for weeks to get an appointment and Omanis will get easier access to private hospitals,” he added. Health experts are also in favour of the decision.
“Providing different packages for expatriates and local citizens will help public health institutions in Oman perform better as they will share the large number of patients, thus having more time to treat each,” Dr Mazin Jawad Al Khabouri, director general of Private Health Establishment said.
To avoid misusing the insurance for sheer commercial purposes, Al Khabouri suggested that the Ministry of Health must supervise the procedure and keep a close eye on insurance companies operating in Oman.