Muscat: Domestic workers in Oman will benefit from special insurance policies to ensure that they are able to access prompt and affordable healthcare.
The move is part of the mandatory health insurance plans being rolled out by the government for expat and local workers in the country’s private sector.
According to Ahmed Al Maamari, Vice President of the Insurance Sector at Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA), the provision of this insurance for domestic workers should curb the excessive cost of healthcare to private sector employees.
On the steps taken by CMA to implement the project, Al Maamari said: “Guidelines produced by CMA will guarantee the successful implementation of the scheme in the Sultanate and will focus on both the right of the worker to obtain appropriate health coverage as well as ensuring the quality of the health services they receive. The CMA has also taken steps to curb the excessive costs incurred by employees in the private sector.”
“We expect competent and professional private health institutions will work in tandem with quality specialised treatment centres. This will contribute to the expansion of the health services in Oman in general and enhance medical tourism as well as limiting the need for treatment abroad, all of which will be financially beneficial to the Sultanate.”
The insurance plan, which is being organised and overseen by CMA, is called ‘Dhamani’ (Arabic for ‘insurance’). Al Maamari added that Dhamani would play a role in expanding investments in the insurance and health sectors as insurance companies specialising in health care come on board with the project.
The comments were made in the meeting organised by the CMA in collaboration with the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Governorate of Dakhiliyah with businessmen and representatives of the companies hosted by Sheikh Khalifah Hamed Al Saadi, the Governor of Al Dakhiliyah.
Al Maamari said in his opening speech that the government’s policy is to implement the health insurance scheme to provide healthcare for expatriates, residents, and citizens alike in order to provide sustainable care in line with developments in treatment technology. This will happen through partnership with the private sector and by regulating the relationship between employers, insurance companies, private health services and the beneficiaries.
A major step for the success of the scheme is the creation of an electronic platform linking the insurers, health service providers and state regulators. Such a link is an essential requirement in controlling the provision of basic health services and medications.
Rashid Amer Al Maslahi, Vice Chairman for Administrative and Financial Affairs, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry said “The meeting is the second in the campaign which started in North Al Batinah Governorate and embodies the community partnership with employers in the private sector institutions and the targeted categories. It offers an opportunity to introduce “Dhamani” and the proposed implementation methods as well as being an opportunity to exchange views and explore the opportunities and benefits the community will gain from health insurance.”
Al Maslahi added that Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry is an essential partner in the health insurance scheme as it represents the link between the public and private institutions and the voice of businessmen. The meeting, he said, embodies the partnership between the public and private sectors in the planning and execution of important decisions in the national interest.
The CMA estimates the National Health Insurance scheme would contribute to the development of health service infrastructure. Additionally, health services coverage which currently applies to about 469,000 workers in the private sector is expected to increase to more than 2 million expatriate and Omani workers.
Social workers working in Oman welcomed the idea. Mohammed Zaeem, General Secretary of Pakistan Social Club Oman told Times of Oman,
“We have seen substantial number of cases of blue-collar workers in our community presenting almost every month with medical bills that were not covered by their sponsors. However, the Ministry of Social Development was extremely helpful in bailing out some cases. This new law, making medical insurance mandatory for everyone working in the Sultanate, will definitely ease the burden on both nationals and expatriates, as well as helping to avoid some illnesses and conditions becoming chronic”