‘Need for agency to oversee private health insurance scheme execution’

Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) on Tuesday said an independent monitoring body should supervise the implementation of mandatory health insurance for all workers in the private sector.
In a statement, OCCI welcomed the Ministry of Health’s decision to implement the mandatory health insurance for private sector employees from the beginning of next year.
Redha Juma Mohammed Ali al Saleh, Vice-Chairman, OCCI, Administrative and Financial Affairs, said: “The private sector is ready for implementation of mandatory health insurance and we propose the establishment of an independent monitoring body to supervise the implementation process. The decision is important in terms of improving the working environment for private sector workers, whether nationals or expatriates.”
Speaking to the Observer, Al Saleh said, “The insurance sector is regulated by the Capital Market Authority (CMA), health institutions by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the private sector under the OCCI. For effective implementation, there should be coordination among all these stakeholders and hopefully a unifying agency will be in place before the scheme is implemented next year.”
He said talks are under way with the insurance agencies to make the services affordable so that there is no burden on the private companies.
Al Saleh had also mentioned in his statement that some Gulf countries already have mechanisms in place for effective coordination.
Meanwhile, Rashed al Muslihi, a member of the board of directors, OCCI, stressed the importance of creating a unified national policy for health insurance that will be comprehensive and clear to all institutions. “The OCCI committee has discussed in a number of meetings the importance of improving quality, fixing prices and speeding up the procedures of approvals for medical treatment,” he said.
Last month, the Council of Ministers approved a proposal submitted by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) for setting out a strategy for the introduction of mandatory healthcare insurance for private sector employees, effective from 2018.

Vinod Nair