Word on the street: Mandatory health insurance

Public opinion on the streets of Muscat

Mandatory health insurance for private sector is to be implemented in a phased manner from 2019. How will it change the current situation?

Hussain al Balushi, Student

It is a good decision for the private sector as it will help provide easy access to medical care especially for those in most need. Currently, all big companies already provide some kind of medical coverage, but with this blanket implementation, it will also cover those in most need.

Mohammed Yaseen, Finance sector employee

Health insurance is needed urgently for sectors like construction, where many small companies do not provide medical coverage to their employees. This despite such sectors being most prone to on-the-job accidents and ailments.

Mohammad Marghub, Private sector employee

The mandatory health insurance has been talked about for years, it should now be implemented soon. It is a good news for all those blue collar workers and many others in low paying jobs who find it tough to foot their medical bills.

Marhoun Khalfan Said al Saidi, Accounts executive

It is a very important decision because health insurance is basic necessity. All workers be it in the private or government sector need health insurance. Making health insurance mandatory will support the healthcare industry in Oman and will generate a good investment climate too.

Walid al Hajri, Private sector employee

The decision is a very important one as many institutions in the private sector either do not provide health insurance to their workers at all or just have partial insurance at present. I hope that the decision will be implemented as soon as possible.

Ahmed al Balushi, Private sector employee

Many workers in the private sector are paid very less and so find it difficult to pay medical bills. Health insurance will make them work hard and they will feel safe in the country.

Will free medical insurance make hospitals more crowded? Do you think people tend to visit doctors more often than required if treatment is free?

Monika Modh, Homemaker

A hospital is not an amusement park that people like to frequent. People visit a doctor so that their health condition does not aggravate. Treatment sometimes take time as one cannot expect miracles immediately. Since all do not enjoy health insurance so many try home remedies for curing certain ailments which is not good.

Sravan Chandran, Travel photographer

Yes, there are chances that hospitals might be overcrowded as people might throng them at the drop of a hat once health insurance is extended to everyone. But, it is best to visit the doctor in time and not when the ailment worsens. Good health is mandatory to increase productivity.

Gupta Prasad Dash, Businessman

Free health insurance should have been implemented a long time back. If you want the output to be good, the GDP to rise then it is important to provide free medical insurance to all.

Rashid Issa al Ismaily, Retd private sector employee

Free insurance to everyone will mean end of free medical services for Omanis at government hospitals. Also, certain medical tests would need approval of the insurance company first even if the doctor prescribes it. The doctor’s decision to conduct tests may therefore have to be compromised at times if insurance companies say it is not covered by them.

Abdul Anas, Marketing executive

This will be a good gesture for people but hospitals should not take advantage. The crowd at hospitals may increase due to free health coverage. I think hospitals should upgrade their services to be on par with the demand.

Soud Salim Sufian, Private sector employee

With free medical insurance, doctors and hospitals tend to be more careless. They would ask a patient to go for unnecessary tests too when they know the bills will be borne by insurance companies. This will lead to more crowding at hospitals. There should be a mechanism to monitor hospitals else, insurance firms will suffer huge claims.

How do you rate the healthcare system in Oman? Are the healthcare services provided affordable?

Abhirup Chowdhary, Private sector employee

Healthcare services are excellent in Oman and far better than several neighbouring countries. The doctors are experienced and staff is expert in handling crisis and emergency situations. The hospitals are affordable too.

Soumen Patra, Private sector employee

Healthcare system in Oman is very effective and affordable as well. The only issue is that at times medicines are not available but one can get substitutes. I feel private hospital services are quite affordable for everyone.

Sajid Hooti, Businessman

Oman has a very good healthcare system. Most of the private hospitals are JCI accredited and accessible to common people. There are some very expensive ones too but most are affordable. Most hospitals are well-equipped with latest machines and undergo upgradation from time to time. Doctors and nurses too are very sensitive and cooperative.

Muhammed Alfaz, Private sector employee

The healthcare system in Oman is good and it is constantly improving. I believe with each passing year, the number of Omani nationals having to travel abroad for medical care will reduce. However, costs vary between hospitals.

Taha Habib Juma al Zadjali, Senior executive

I believe the most important thing is to find a good doctor. A hospital is only as good as its doctors. Private healthcare is expensive in Oman.

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