Mandatory health insurance could be implemented in a phased manner, says expert

September 05, 2018

Authorities in Oman might look at implementing the proposed mandatory health insurance scheme in a phased manner, taking cues from the UAE and Saudi Arabian markets, according to a senior official of an international law firm.

Speaking to Muscat Daily on the sidelines of a seminar titled ‘Trends and developments in Oman insurance market’, on Wednesday at Grand Hyatt Muscat, Peter Hodgins, partner at Clyde & Co said that it will be challenging to implement mandatory health insurance in Oman as it is a very complex task.

“Certainly lots of work has to be done in terms of developing basic policies, developing systems and controls around those polices to ensure that there is access to healthcare for all, and also to ensure that there aren’t any fraudulent activities,” he said.
Clyde & Co organised the seminar with a view to discuss local and international trends, market updates and common coverage issues on business lines key to Oman’s insurance market. The seminar was attended by a number of representatives from Oman’s insurance and other allied services sectors.

When asked why Oman may opt for a phased approach for introducing compulsory medical insurance, Hodgins said, “Other countries in the region such as Saudi Arabia and UAE have taken a phased implementation of mandatory health insurance. They started it by doing in different bands in different time-frames. Either by starting with the largest companies and slowly reducing the brackets, or taking the other-way round.”

“We have seen that implementation barriers took two or three years before it was fully rolled out across the country. Based on what I have seen from the Capital Market Authority (CMA), it appears that the authority will apply the phased approach in introducing mandatory health cover,” Hodgins said.

Clyde & Co is a leading, sector-focused global law firm with 415 partners, 2,200 legal professionals and 3,800 staff in 52 offices and associated offices on six continents. It opened its office in Muscat last year where it is primarily focusing on dispute resolution practice in Oman.