Kuwait raises health insurance fees for expatriates

Kuwait issues a decree requiring expatriates to pay a new annual health insurance fee of US $ 450, an increase of 173 per cent.

Kuwait's Ministry of Labor and Labor issued a decree on Tuesday requiring all expatriates to pay an annual health insurance fee of $ 450, up from $ 165 currently, an increase of 173 per cent, as a prerequisite for granting residency.

According to the decision, seen by Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, government agencies and institutions will be obliged to pay the fees to their employees, while the sponsor (Kuwaiti employer) will be free to pay health insurance fees to his expatriates.

The expatriate, whether working in the private or public sector, shall bear the fees prescribed for his family and not the employer.

Kuwait raises health insurance fees for expatriates

The new system is scheduled to start in January 2020, as the Health Insurance Hospitals Company has already started to open its health centers, which will receive arrivals by the beginning of next year, where it is expected to open about seven centers in the six governorates of Kuwait.

The new system is expected to provide additional resources to the state budget, exceeding $ 1 billion annually. According to the data of the Central Administration of Statistics, the number of arrivals is about 3.4 million, about 2.5 million of them will enter the new system, with the remaining percentage of them marginal labor and service, will be adjusted to the new system during the next year.

The Ministry of Health has already raised health service fees for expatriates more than once in the past few years, with some increases reaching 500 per cent, citing additional resources for its budget and improved quality of services.

Tarek Al-Mashaan, an economist who spoke to Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed, said that hospitals and health centers need to be upgraded.

"The development of hospitals is difficult under the heavy pressure on them, in addition to the lack of financial resources under the rationalization of government expenditures, so the Ministry of Health resort to re-pricing its services to provide the resources required to improve the quality."

In contrast, experts note that the increasing fees on expatriates pay a large number of them to travel their families and even leave work in Kuwait.

Especially if income is not allowed to provide money that can be saved or invested for the future, which is the main objective of the presence of foreign labor in various Gulf countries and not only Kuwait.