Mr Majed Smeirat, president of the Jordan Insurance Federation (JIF), has lashed out at the Jordanian Medical Association (JMA) for increasing unilaterally the pay of medical personnel and avoid facing opposition to these decisions by leaving insurers to explain why health insurance premiums may have to increase in consequence.
JMA president Dr Ali Abous said that the medical body had reached agreement with the Minister of Industry and Trade, Dr Tariq Al-Hammouri, to reinstate previously cancelled clauses to the "Instructions on Contracts of Insurance Companies and Health Maintenance Organisations with Medical Service Provider”. The reinstated clauses obligate insurance companies to pay remuneration stipulated by the JMA in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, according to local media reports.
Dr Al-Abous pointed out that after the approval of the Minister of Industry to reinstate these articles, they will be re-published in the Official Gazette on 1 November.
He said that he had been invited to a meeting with Dr Al-Hammouri to discuss the demands of doctors regarding their pay scale. He said that it was stressed during the meeting with the Minister the need to commit insurance companies to the medical pay scale. He said that it is a priority of the JMA to look at remuneration in a logical manner, commensurate with the economic situation of citizens.
Mr Smeirat told the newspaper Tomorrow, “Who is the one who adjusted the pay regulations unilaterally in the middle of the term of the contract, raise prices high, and force insurance companies to contract with him?"
He said that the medical pay scale was previously determined by a committee of seven parties, including the JMA, JIF, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Jordan Health Insurance Association. But the revised articles in question give the JMA the right to amend the medical pay scale without reference to any party and at a time it deems appropriate.
He explained that the only victim in these circumstances is the average citizen, because insurance companies will raise premiums to cover higher medical costs, which is "an equation that the JMA does not want to understand, and to some extent also the Ministry of Industry and Trade".
"Doctors have the right to lead a decent life by adjusting their pay in line with inflation rates, but in consultation with the parties that will pay the bill," he said, stressing that "while the JMA has the right to impose its opinion on its members, imposing its position on third parties, and forcing them to deal with it, is something illogical."
He also said that contracts are valid for a whole year, but the problem is that the JMA is raising salary costs in the middle of the contract term. “Insurance companies cannot provide the contracted service and citizens cannot afford it,” he added.