News Middle East07 Apr 2020

Lebanon:Ministry of Economy asks insurers to cover COVID-19

07 Apr 2020

Lebanese Minister of Economy, Mr Raoul Nehme, called on insurance companies to cover COVID-19 in their insurance plans, stressing the need for "all parties to play their part in providing appropriate support in view of the economic and living conditions the country is going through".

He said that, at the same time, private hospitals should set acceptable and reasonable price tables, according a report by the National Information Agency.

Mr Nehme held a meeting with members of the parliamentary health committee last Saturday, during which participants discussed the issue of insurers' coverage of hospitalisation costs for those who were warded for COVID-19.

Mr Nehme said that official data indicated that the number of people who had medical insurance is 840,000, of whom more than 466,000 or more than 55% would have insurance coverage for COVID-19 hospitalisation costs.

Insurance companies, however, say that losses from covering the costs of medical treatment for the coronavirus will cause significant financial losses, especially as the virus continues to spread and the crisis is prolonged.

The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated economic conditions in Lebanon. About 33% of the population lived below the poverty line in September 2019 but now, almost half of Lebanon has fallen below that line, reported Al Jazeera. Lebanon registered its first COVID-19 case on 21 February 2020.

Lebanon faced an economic and political crisis prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The government defaulted on its sovereign debt last month.

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