A recent news report by the Oman News Agency cited that Oman’s insurance sector was poised for expansion with the health insurance sector leading the way for this growth.
The breakdown of different insurance premiums indicated that health insurance premium comprised 33 per cent of the total insurance premiums in Oman. Motor insurance follows health insurance premiums accounting for 31 per cent of the total premiums.
Health Insurance in Oman
One of the main causes for the growth of health insurance in Oman has been attributed to the private companies, according to the report.
In a quest to attract and retain quality talent, private sector companies are now recognising the need to provide attractive employment packages and in turn, are revising existing human resource policies. Apropos of this change, better healthcare benefits, which includes comprehensive insurance plans.
This has not only resulted in the reduction of the burden of cost of treatment for patients, but also has had a spillover effect on the wider health insurance sector in Oman. According to statistical data cited in the report, the health insurance sector in Oman has witnessed a growth of 30.5 per cent from 2011 to 2018.
Mandatory Health Insurance & Unified Health Insurance Policy (UHIP)
A significant contribution to the growth in the health insurance sector in Oman would also be the introduction of mandatory health insurance for blue-collar workers which is expected to roll out by the end of the year.
The Unified Health Insurance Policy (UHIP) scheme, titled Dhamani, which is a vital component of the mandatory health policy, will result in covering an additional 2.1 million workers from the private sector in Oman as well as residents and visitors.
Dr. Ahmed bin Mohammed al Saeedi, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Oman Medical Specialty Board (OMSB) has stated to the press that the roadmap of the new policy is currently being prepared and when ready, will be implemented in a carefully planned manner.
For the benefit of private sector companies as well as insurance providers in Oman, the scheme will be implemented in phases. He has been quoted by local news sources saying: “The Council of Ministers has already given its approval for the study. A government undertaking has now been assigned to implement the scheme.”
The new scheme will be the onset of a new phase of expansion and growth for the healthcare sector in Oman. Not only will the mandatory health insurance scheme benefit existing players in the market, but also pave the way for the entry of new investment entities, be it insurance companies, claims management companies or private health institutions. It will also become a platform for national skill development.
Comprehensive medical coverage would also mean that the number of outbound medical tourists would drop. It would also significantly add inbound medical tourists in the country (Oman currently ranks at 8th position in the region for inbound medical tourists).
Oman’s Insurance Sector
The outlook for Oman’s overall insurance sector is positive. There has been positive growth in the sector primarily because of government spending on health insurance projects.
According to an S&P report, Oman’s insurance sector is expected to ‘expand by up to ten per cent growth this year’. Oman will continue to remain ‘one of the fastest growing markets in the GCC’ following a 7.5 per cent growth in 2018.
Sushmita, Assistant Editor – BusinessLiveME, enjoys writing about a variety of topics, including but not limited to, energy, video games, infrastructure, cyber security, feminism and gender, and popular culture. Apart from her content-related duties, Sushmita is adept at making to-do lists.