Health cover for private employees from January

The mandatory health insurance for private sector employees will come into effect from January, said the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI). OCCI had a meeting on Tuesday with all stakeholders, which include the insurance companies and private health institutions, to discuss the preparedness for the effective implementation of the scheme.
Speaking to the Observer, Redha Juma Mohammed Ali al Saleh, Vice-Chairman, OCCI, Administrative and Financial Affairs, said that a committee led by the OCCI with representatives from insurance companies, health institutions, pharmacies and private companies will be formed to oversee the implementation of the policy.
Al Saleh said the stakeholders are working on the modalities, including the insurance premiums.
No decision has been reached on that front.
A statement quoting Said Saleh Said al Kiyumi, OCCI chairman, said that private institutions should collaborate with large international hospitals to invest and develop the health sector.
He said OCCI is not in favour of making decisions without consulting and understanding the challenges faced by the sector while implementing an important policy like the health insurance.
The need for a coordinating agency is important as the insurance sector in Oman is regulated by the Capital Market Authority (CMA), health institutions by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the private sector by the OCCI.
The insurance agencies have been urged to make the services affordable so there is no burden on the private companies.
Article 33 of Omani Labour Law says all companies are required to provide medical insurance for their employees.
The law says, “An employer may satisfy this legal obligation in relation to the payment of medical treatment for expatriate employees by providing medical insurance for its employees with a third party insurer, for which insurer would pay the government or private hospital directly when the employee receives medical treatment at these health institutions.”
Although the law says an employer is not obligated to provide medical insurance to an Omani employee as they are entitled to free medical treatment at all government hospitals, the new health insurance scheme will cover the nationals as well.

Vinod Nair