The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) and Aon Bahrain have signed an agreement on the implementation of a health insurance scheme for foreign residents within the framework of the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme.
Speaking at the agreement ceremony, SCH chairman Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa stressed that Bahrain is working to develop its health system to ensure the sustainability of providing comprehensive health coverage to the population, in accordance with the best standards globally.
Under the agreement, Aon will work with the SCH to determine mandatory health packages for foreign residents, reviewing the conditions that must be met by insurance companies wishing to provide these packages. Aon will also provide an electronic platform to enable employers to choose offers from insurance companies for the health packages, registration of beneficiaries and the gradual implementation of the NHI programme.
The project aims to ensure coverage of basic healthcare services for foreign residents by providing a package of primary and secondary healthcare services in addition to treatment in emergencies and accident cases. Insurance coverage is to be provided by health insurance companies in the private sector.
The Ministry of Health confirmed in mid-March - in response to a parliamentary question - that it is planning to start applying the mandatory health insurance to foreigners in the second quarter of this year, and to Bahrainis at the beginning of 2023.
The compulsory insurance scheme for foreigners and residents aims to transform a culture of dependence on government health services into a comprehensive and self-financed health insurance system.
The ministry confirmed that a pilot scheme relating to the self-management of hospitals and primary care centres had already started at the beginning of this year, and that the role of the SCH would be that of a supervisory body for the health insurance system and ensuring easy access to healthcare services.
According to official data, the new health insurance project will cover around 720,000 foreigners residing in Bahrain. Most expats are currently registered in the basic coverage system of the Ministry of Health under which they pay an annual fee of BHD72 ($191) each.
When the mandatory health insurance scheme is implemented, employers will be obligated to insure the foreign worker and his family with licensed insurance companies in Bahrain. M