Will Bahrainis Lose Free Healthcare? Questions before the Impending Catastrophe

2022-10-12 - 2:04 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Bahraini health insurance law and the launch of the health card project will take place in 2024. This project; however, may be the worst to ever happen.

Why is it bad news?

It is because the story lies in the details, not headlines. It seems that the government will repeat its previous actions, as it began to prepare the media for the introduction of the draft amendments to the Social Insurance Authority Law and the Retirement Law. It issued at that time superficial and vague reassurances, and then shocked people with the bitter truth.

This time it will be the health insurance project, which will be implemented in 2024, as the head of the Supreme Council of Health, Mohammed Abdullah Al Khalifa, stated that this project determines the per capita citizen's share of the cost of treatment, approximately BD 550 to 600 per Bahraini citizen annually, adding that this amount may increase slightly. To contain the citizens' reactions, Al Khalifa said "there won't be a financial ceiling to treatment of Bahrainis in any case."

First: How are people supposed to believe that the specified amount of funds for a citizen's medical treatments per year is BD 500 or 600 dinars while there is also no financial ceiling for treatment!

Second: Will the government contract with a number of insurance companies, to take care of the citizens and let the process be between citizens and these companies, while the government steps aside? 

Is there an insurance company that gives any insured a blank check for treatment and without a specific financial ceiling? Of course not; insurance companies cannot pay everything and therefore will start to intervene. For instance, they may not allow a citizen to run a blood test claiming he does not need it, so if the company does not accept to pay him, the citizen will be forced to pay out of his own pocket.

Third: What about medications, which is a very important issue, and what about high-cost medications, such as medicines for heart and kidney diseases and diabetes; since patients will need them almost monthly, will insurance companies cover the costs for them or not?

What about treatment sessions for chronic and serious diseases, such as radiology sessions or dialysis, will they be covered by insurance?

Fourth: Will the Supreme Council of Health make available to citizens the set of conditions of insurance companies or not? For example, there are insurance companies that set a specific amount for dental treatment, and an amount for the treatment of seasonal illnesses such as the flu. When a citizen exhausts the amount allocated to dental care, will he then pay from his own money?

Things are not as simple as the head of the Supreme Council of Health makes them out to be, so citizens should not be reassured by his sugar-coated words.

Another question arises when thinking about the next parliament which the authorities are studying to elect now. What will those so eager to participate do when they win, will they be able to accomplish anything more than complain on social media outlets as the rest of the citizens do? Will the aspirants be able to bear the brunt of the people's loss of an advantage and gain, like free healthcare?

Time will tell when the project to end free healthcare in Bahrain starts, and the era of insurance companies begins.

Arabic Version