Oman’s Capital Market Authority is preparing regulations for the implementation of mandatory health insurance in Oman for all workers. Much work needs to be done first before it becomes a reality, but this move will ultimately lead to falling outbound medical travel flow from the country.
Omani politicians claim that mandatory health insurance in Oman may commence in early 2019, but that is an ambitious target.
There is much work which needs to be done first, such as basic policy frameworks, developing systems and controls, along with other measures to ensure that access to healthcare is available to everyone in the country. The implementation also involves other stakeholders including insurance companies, medical services providers, insurance agents, employers, employees and other intermediaries.
Another challenge is around pricing. As the Omani authorities are looking to provide mandatory health cover to all, it has to be priced in such a way that is affordable to all while at the same time, ensuring that service providers are able to maintain profitability on a sustainable basis.
If priced too high, it could become inaccessible to a large section of the population and if the prices are kept too low, it could seriously damage the insurance sector in the country.
CMA is most likely to roll out the mandatory medical insurance scheme in a phased manner.
The introduction from 2019 of compulsory health insurance for all local Omanis and expatriates not covered by public sector schemes will probably lead to outbound medical tourism numbers starting to fall.