Manama : A law will soon be implemented under which all individuals in the Kingdom, including expatriates, will be medically insured under the National Health Insurance Scheme, President of the Supreme Council for Health (SCH) Lieutenant General Dr Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa, told DT News yesterday.
The government would pay the insurance premium to the Social Health Insurance Fund for the nationals but for expats the insurance premium will be borne by their sponsors through private insurance companies accredited by the government, Dr Shaikh Mohammed said, addressing a seminar at Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industy.
“We are hoping to finalize a law by the end of the year and this will be beneficial in a lot of ways, because the government is paying directly to the hospitals but with this law the government will pay the Fund and the Fund will pay the hospitals which will monitor the finances in the health sector. This will create a detailed accounting system in the health sector and will help us to control the spending and would enable us to distribute the money in a fair way,” Lt. Gen Dr Shaikh Mohammed said.
Once the government implements this policy under a new law, the government hospitals and local health centers will no longer need to depend on the Ministry of Health for funding public healthcare. Instead, the funding will come through insurance companies, giving the patient the right to chose what doctor he/she want to be treated by and what hospital they want to be treated in.
The policy aims to create a patient-centered health system where health service providers and their buyers compete to provide high quality and efficient services. It is based on comprehensive and an accurate health information system that enables monitoring control and monitors its performance to ensure quality, efficiency and sustainability. According to World Bank report, in the health sector, the government is currently spending 550BD/year per Bahraini and 290BD per expatriates.
NHRA, SCH implementing bodies
Through this policy, the government aims to transfer the funding system from a state-approved budget to collecting the value of health services provided by the proposed health insurance fund and insurance companies. The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA) along with the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) will implement the scheme. The Health Information and Knowledge Management Authority (HIKMA) will oversee the health information systems. The Department of Health Economics will monitor health expenditure, financial reports and health account. The Quality Department will manage the Quality Committee for the development. The Planning Department will develop future plans and provide information to decision makers and the Central Bank will license and control insurance companies.
The health and medical services sector committee of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with SCH held the seminar on National Health Insurance scheme to be implemented in 2018 at the Majlis Hall of Bait Al Tijjar yesterday. Adel Al A’ali, BCCI health and medical services sector committee head, was one of the panelists of the session along with the President of SCH Lieutenant General Dr. Shaikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa. CEO of NHRA Dr. Mariam Al Jalahma and Dr. Aisha Mubarak Buaneq, Ministry of Health Undersecretary and Dr. Waleed Al Mana, Assistant Undersecretary, alongside members of the health and medical services sector committee of the Chamber attended the seminar.