By Abdulaziz Al Jahdhami — The blessings we are enjoying in our life are undoubtedly countless. Some of the common blessings most of us enjoy today are decent living standard, health, education, being employed and many others. Some of us are blessed with things some don’t have; it’s an honour and a blessing in itself. Sometimes we don’t realise the value of some blessings until we lose them. Among the blessings we are envied for are free education in government schools from Grade I. Students get free education, books and transport to and from their homes. Unbelievably it’s the best that students can ever get during their school years.
Just imagine how lucky students here are, while in some countries students work in part-time jobs to cover the expense of their schools. Believe it or not, not only Omanis get free education in government schools, but also non-Omanis enrolled in those schools.
Not only education is free of charge, but also healthcare. In all the government hospitals and health centres around the Sultanate, Omanis are entitled to free treatment regardless of their age, gender or condition.
The only amount they pay is for the registration, which is RO 1.200 a year. It’s not even considered an expense for the quality of healthcare services and medication we get. Thus, none of us bear the burden of paying for healthcare treatment. Indeed, we are blessed.
Omanis should be grateful for these blessings as they are impossible dreams for many around the world. Many students are deprived of education because their families cannot afford to pay the school fees.
However, there are families that don’t appreciate these blessings. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain”.
There are people who learn the lessons the hard way. They do not realise how precious such blessings are unless they are made to pay for it.
On the other hand, with the emergence of healthcare insurance cards for private sector employees, things have changed. People’s interest and attention have shifted to private hospitals or polyclinics, where they believe the quality of healthcare is better than in government institutions.
Such a thinking is not always right as most private healthcare institutions are focused on profit rather than quality. What matters to the end user is free treatment and service in a private hospital.
Therefore, beneficiaries tend to misuse insurance cards by making unnecessary and frequent visits to private healthcare institutions even for minor health problems.
The worst scenario is most private hospitals differentiate between those holding insurance cards and other patients. The types of check-up, treatment and medication prescribed to card-holders are more and different than those for normal patients.
Health insurance cards are a blessing that not everyone has. Whoever has it should use it efficiently and honestly. To the card users, it is a free of charge service, but employers are paying insurance agencies that are paying the hospitals.
Such cards should be used responsibly and carefully. An auditing authority should ensure they are properly used.