Kuwait eyes increased expat healthcare fees, denial of certain treatments

MPs in the country have argued its healthcare system is too generous



Officials in Kuwait are planning to increase expat healthcare fees in the buildup to complete segregation of hospital care for locals and expats, according to reports.

Kuwait Times cited sources as saying the process of restricting public hospital services to Kuwaitis alone with be gradual due to the lack of private hospital capacity in the country.

But other measures including increased fees for health services and the denial of access to certain procedures like magnetic resonance image scanning and endoscopies, would be more immediate.

The sources said it would take at least three years for enough private hospitals to open in the country for expats to be barred for public facilities, according to the publication.

Foreign workers in the country currently pay a symbolic sum of up to KD2 ($6.55) for a check-up in the country including any medicine.

MP Safaa Al-Hashem, who is the only woman on the country’s 50-seat National Assembly, argued this week that expats in the country should have to pay for pharmaceuticals, drawing criticism from some doctors.

It was also reported that the government would provide MPs in the country with plans to remove expat administrative employees in various government sectors and measures to force companies to deport foreign labourers when their projects are completed.

Labourers that are terminated will also be permitted from transferring residency to a new employer, the publication said.

The plans follows a study released this week by the research department at Kuwait’s Ministry of State for National Assembly Affairs that called for the deporting of marginal labourers.

Read: Kuwait study calls for deporting of labourers, deadline for expat hiring

Expatriates make up 70 per cent of Kuwait’s 4.4 million population, according to some estimates.

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