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Oman makes health insurance mandatory for expats

Why is health insurance now mandatory?

Oman's Health Minister Dr. Ahmed bin Muhammad bin Obaid Al Saeed said the need for this new law is due to competition between the public and private health sector. Today, the public health sector is more efficient and provides a better quality of care. For the private sector to improve, it requires financing that will be made available through a growing number of people who will be insured. Mandatory expatriate health insurance is an attempt to find a new way to finance the private healthcare sector.

What does this mean for expats?

Currently only 10% of expats in Oman have health insurance, so the iPMI market will soon be flooded with new clients. Expats should start looking for different service providers now so that they are covered in time for January 2018.

Newcomers arriving in Oman will need to have coverage before arriving in the country, and some employers will offer to arrange this for them. There will always be the option to pay extra for additional coverage or to organize iPMI independently.

Why iPMI?

Many countries around the world with a large expat community like Dubai are encouraging workers to use iPMI in place of other insurance options that offer less coverage. Oman is believed to do the same to ensure expatriates take maximum responsibility for their health, putting less financial pressure on the country.

iPMI is the most suitable form of insurance for those who have worked and lived in a country for more than a month. It usually includes benefits such as:

  • Routine inpatient and outpatient treatments
  • Emergency entrance
  • Chronic disease treatment
  • Access to most, if not all, hospitals in the country in which you live
  • A unique plan for couples or families with a working person

An emerging trend

Oman is not the first Gulf country to make expatriate health insurance a legal requirement, and it will not be the last. Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar are expected to implement the same law by 2020.

In the past, there have been a number of cases in countries with a large expat community where people were unable to afford health care costs in the country where they were working or the flight home. They were unable to receive the required medical care and their illnesses worsened over time, causing complications. The efforts of these governments are to ensure that all expatriates are protected and avoid such situations in the future.