THE expatriate health insurance programme will be soft-launched across the kingdom by the end of the third quarter this year.Hakeem, which means ‘wise’ in Arabic, is a comprehensive insurance programme for expats that was formerly known as the Private Co-operative Health Insurance Programme.Details of its progress were shared with private healthcare providers and insurance companies during a roundtable discussion at the third edition of the National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) Conference and Exhibition by the Supreme Council of Health’s (SCH) secretary-general Ebrahim Al Nawakhda.He said that the programme will be piloted in September.
“For two years, though, we will be monitoring the market and getting hospitals ready for the system,” he added.“By the end of 2024, it should be fully operational.”The Hakeem programme, which includes two packages – one that is mandatory and the other optional – will be funded by the employer or sponsor and will be made available in government and private facilities.The mandatory package is for expat workers of a specific age and includes primary healthcare and emergency services as well as secondary healthcare services upon referral by a family physician.It does not include maternity room services, cosmetic procedures and there is a cap for spending.In the optional package, expats have the right to sign up with private insurance companies, provided that the benefit package is inclusive of all the services provided in the mandatory package.
“All expats will have access to the private services and we are trying to push everybody to the private hospitals to create a market,” added Mr Al Nawakhda.“That doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to go to the government hospitals.“As for the Bahraini programme, we will do a dry run at the beginning of 2024 and the implementation and operation of it will be at the end of 2024.”This all falls under the national health insurance programme Sehati which aims to improve health services for citizens, residents and visitors.The scheme includes six packages, of which three are for Bahrainis, two for expatriates and one for visitors.Bahraini citizens are entitled to receive free treatment without limit at all government medical facilities under Sehati and the compulsory services will include comprehensive primary healthcare, inpatient-outpatient and accidents and emergency services in Bahrain; and conditional in-vitro fertilisation, medicines, all types of medical tests and treatment abroad, if required.
The SCH clarified that the Health Insurance Fund (Shifa) will cover the cost of treatment for citizens in government hospitals under the mandatory programme.Sehati was originally due to be implemented in 2019 but was delayed due to various factors, including the Covid-19 pandemic.Also discussed during the roundtable was how the Sehati programme will ‘create new job-like opportunities for the market to grow’.The three-day NHRA Conference and Exhibition, held at the Diplomat Radisson Blu, Residence and Spa under the patronage of SCH chairman Lieutenant General Doctor Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, ended yesterday.It featured 44 specialists from Bahrain and abroad conducting panel discussions and workshops about risk management, disciplinary accountability of medical professionals, the importance of reporting incidents in patient safety, medical device regulations, NHRA regulations, the new NHRA accreditation programme accredited by ISQua, Tamkeen and Cabinet initiatives to support Bahraini firstname.lastname@example.org
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