Oman Chamber says employee health insurance to become mandatory in 2018

Companies in the country have recently been reducing or retracting health cover due to tougher economic conditions

Oman’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said ethical health insurance cover must be provided to all private sector workers by 2018, according to reports.

Local publication Times of Oman said the chamber urged companies to abide with the plan in a notice issued on Tuesday.

This follows a trend this year of companies in the country removing or reducing their health cover for employees due to tougher economic conditions.

Read: Oman’s private sector firms cutting health insurance

“Business should be informed about this and consider it when studying their future projects,” the OCCI notice stated, according to the publication.

Similarly to nearby Dubai, the plan will be implemented in a number of phases based on company size with the first expected to begin in early 2018.

Read: Dubai mandatory health insurance deadline extended

The first phase will include consultation with companies that have more than 100 employees.

The second will include companies with between 50 and 100 employees.

“Big companies are already doing it. However, some small companies are skipping to provide the insurance coverage for workers,” OCCI member Ahmed Al Hooti was quoted as saying.

“Well-known big private companies in Oman make sure they provide their employees with health insurance but some are not committed to it so we need to instruct them to do so. It is an ethical move.”

The decision will mostly benefit expats in the private sector, which total more than 1.76 million, according to government data. Omanis have the option of visiting free public health centres.

Indian social worker Shameer PTK told the publication that he comes across at least five cases of workers stranded in hospital due to a lack of health coverage every week.

Currently firms are required to provide employees with access to medical facilities and employ a nurse and assign a doctor to visit workers if their headcount exceeds 100.