News Middle East07 Mar 2019

Jordan:Insurers sue doctors for setting up health admin scheme

| 07 Mar 2019

The Jordan Insurance Federation (JOIF) has joined hands with several other associations in filing a law suit to challenge a regulation issued by the Jordanian Medical Association (JMA).

The new regulation, gazetted on 31 December 2018, covers a health insurance administration scheme said to have been established unilaterally by the JMA.

Mr Majed Smairat, JOIF chairman, said that the scheme had been rejected after intensive meetings among affected parties, because of its negative impact on the health insurance sector in the Kingdom. He said that joining the JOIF in the law suit are organisations like the Jordan Association for Medical Insurance (JAMI), National Association for Consumer Protection and the General Union of Jordanian Trade Unions.

Mr Smairat said that the scheme would lead to more costly medical care with increases of an estimated 25-40%. Costs will rise because the scheme provides for higher salaries for medical practitioners and the adoption of a new medical fee list by the JMA.

He said that institutions and large businesses would be reluctant to provide medical insurance to their employees and their families because the financial costs under the JMA system would be significantly higher.

The system requires insurance companies to pay all amounts due to doctors to the JMA, which would deduct 10% for wages for the cooperative fund and transfer the rest of the fees to doctors after three months.

Pay and fees

Separately, Mr Fawaz Al Ajlouni, JAMI secretary general, said in a press statement that the JMA scheme provides for new pay levels for doctors, without reference to health insurance companies. He also said that the scheme gives absolute powers to the JMA to set medical fees, reported Al Rai.

These various issues between health insurers and doctors have been festering for some time. Last year, there were reports that the JMA was negotiating with JAMI over higher doctors' fees  in order to keep pace with inflation.

The medical association had been seeking to increase doctors' remuneration to cope with inflation and to update a list of medical procedures to be covered by health insurance.

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