Oman is set to make it compulsory for companies to provide their workers with health insurance from January, according to reports.
Times of Oman cited the head of Oman Medical Association, Waleed Al Zadjali, as confirming the plans.
“Compulsory national health insurance will be introduced from January 2019 if all its requirements are met,” he was quoted as saying.
“Establishing such insurance ensures that the rights of patients, businesses, and doctors are preserved; a system like this was never in place and is very important.”
Oman’s Capital Market Authority said in July it was working with relevant institutions on the policy and the plans were in the “drafting stage” after a decision by the Council of Ministers last year.
A authority’s director of valuation and risks surveillance department, Nasr Al Salhi, told the publication that work was still “in progress” and would include the linking of insurance companies to hospitals and an electronic system for medicines and treatments to prevent manipulation and price increases.
Implementation is expected to take place in phases like in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates
Oman’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry previously stated that ethical health insurance cover should be provided to all private sector workers by 2018.
However, tough market conditions and government austerity measures appear to have made providing insurance to workers less of a priority for some firms.
Dubai’s health insurance law made it mandatory for employers and sponsors it different brackets to provide coverage in phases from 2014 until March 31, 2017.
The implementation of that system boosted the profits of the UAE’s health insurers in 2016 despite tough market conditions linked to the lower oil price.
Saudi’s Council of Cooperative Health Insurance also began the final phase of a unified health insurance framework in April last year.