Expats in Bahrain to pay compulsory private health insurance

Expats in Bahrain to pay compulsory private health insurance

Expats in Bahrain to pay compulsory private health insurance

Getting to grips with expat healthcare in Bahrain.

For expats relocating to Bahrain, it’s comforting to know the country has a comprehensive, modern system comprising both public and private facilities and experienced, qualified practitioners. The public hospitals’ standards compare well with those of private facilities elsewhere in the world, and waiting times are very low. Bahraini citizens use the highly-subsidised or free public services, but expats are, as usual, limited to the private sector, whether in Bahrain or in other world countries.

The healthcare system itself comes in three sectors – primary, secondary and tertiary – with primary care involving three clinics and 24 health centres. The primary service deals with both preventative and curative treatments, issues prescriptions, provides vaccinations and refers patients to specialists where necessary. The service is free for citizens, with expats being charged between $4 and $6 for each visit.

Secondary healthcare services for both Bahrainis and expatriates can be had at Bahrain’s hospitals, including the multidisciplinary Salmaniya Medical Complex which deals with urgent care. Specialist doctors are on call, and referral to the facility is via primary care physicians. The tertiary service is initially aimed at patients who’ve travelled to Bahrain as tourists or visitors, but resident expats with proof of residence cards are allowed to use the public sector on a paying basis.

Bills for medical and surgical treatments must be paid immediately, and the Bahraini government is now implementing plans for mandatory private health insurance for all citizens, expats and even for temporary visitors. The main reason for the introduction of private health insurance would seem to be the burden on employers as well as the national economy of the cost of keeping expat professionals healthy.

It seems all Bahraini citizens, certain categories of visitor and all expat residents will need to pay contributions towards their healthcare insurance on a monthly basis, with two levels of insurance – one for Bahrainis and the other for visitors and expat residents. Bahraini contributions will attract government subsidies, but employers will be forced to subsidise expat residents’ payments.

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