Insurance to be made mandatory for visitors

Muscat: Oman will soon join the league of countries that have made travel insurance mandatory for all types of inbound visitors.

With the implementation of unified and mandatory health insurance (Dhamani) policy, tourists and even relatives visiting the expatriate families in Oman will be required to get insurance before starting their trip to Oman.

Currently, several countries including the US, Cuba, Schengen countries, UAE, Qatar, Russia, and Turkey have made the insurance mandatory for all visitors entering the country.

The Capital Market Authority (CMA) has launched a database for health insurance as a preparatory step for the launch of Dhamani for private-sector workers, residents, and visitors to the Sultanate.

Apart from providing insurance coverage for 2.1 million workers in the private sector Omanis and residents, the insurance scheme will cover thousands of relatives of expatriates and tourists who come to the sultanate.

The health insurance database will contain integrated information on the private sector companies, employees, number of private health institutions, specialized clinics, their location and geographic spread in various wilayats.

It will also provide data on insurance companies and health insurance indices in Oman.

According to statistics from CMA, 77,977 family visas were issued to enable relatives of the residents in the second quarter of 2019.

Also, 103,758 sponsored tourist visas, 361,729 unsponsored tourist visas, 44,825 express visas, 48,876 road transit visas, 247, 446 visas for companions of GCC nationals, 265,040 truck and bus drivers’ visas.

In total 1,182,037 visas of various types were issued as of second-quarter 2019.

According to travel industry sources, insurance will cover reimbursement of medical expenses incurred because of accidents and illnesses.

It will also cover medical emergency transportation expenses.

“As per requirements in many countries, inbound visitors are not allowed to board the plane without a travel health insurance.

The amount is not significant if we take into account personal health expenses incurred if travelling without insurance,” said a senior official of an insurance firm.

Even if the travel health insurance is not required it is recommended to buy one and avoid any unpredicted expenses, said the sales executive of Al Madina Insurance.