Kuwait Eyeing Higher Healthcare Fees for Expats

Kuwaiti officials are planning an increase in healthcare fees for expats in their buildup toward a complete segregation of care at hospitals for citizens and expats, said reports from two reliable sources.

Sources were cited by the Kuwait Times saying that the process of restricting services at public hospitals to just Kuwaitis would be a gradual one because of the lack of sufficient capacity in private hospital across the country.

However, other measures including higher fees for healthcare services as well as the denial of access to a specific number of procedures such as magnetic resonance image use and others like endoscopies, would take place at a rate called more immediate, said the sources.

Both sources also said it would be a minimum of three years prior to there being sufficient capacity in private hospitals around the country for expats to use and thus become banned from using the public healthcare systems in the country.

Workers in Kuwait that are not citizens of the Gulf region country currently must pay what is considered a symbolic fee of only KD2 or $6.55 to receive a doctor’s checkup and any medicine that would be included with the checkup.

Safaa Al-Hashem, an MP and the only female on the country’s National Assembly of 50 members, argued earlier this week that expats in Kuwait should be required to pay for their pharmaceuticals. That argument drew much criticism from a number of the country’s doctors.

Another report has said that the Kuwaiti government would provide its MPs in the country with options to remove the expat administrative employees at a number of different government sectors as well as different measures to force businesses to deport members of their workforce, who are foreigners each time a project is completed.

Foreign labor workers terminated would also be allowed to transfer their residency to another new employer, said the sources that were quoted by the Kuwait Times.

The new healthcare plan for expats comes after a study was released earlier in the week by the research department for the Ministry of State for National Affairs in Kuwait that called for all marginal laborers to be deported.

Governments across the Gulf region have been forced to re-evaluate their annual budgets due to the price of oil plunging and far less state revenues entering to help cover the costs of the annual budget.

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