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Kuwait MPs propose mandatory health insurance for visitors

‘Many foreigners come to Kuwait for the sole purpose of undergoing inexpensive medical treatment’

Gulf News

Manama: A lawmaker in Kuwait has called for introducing a medical insurance scheme for visitors to help cover health treatment costs.

“There is nothing wrong with making health insurance mandatory for visitors,” MP Waleed Al Tabtabai said.

“When we Kuwaitis apply for a Schengen visa, they request us to present medical insurance. I suggest that the insurance for visitors to Kuwait be 10 Kuwaiti dinars per month. Accordingly, if the government issues 500,000 visas, it gets five million dinars, which should be enough to cover all medical treatment expenses,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Thursday.

MP Mubarak Al Harais said that making medical insurance mandatory for foreigners was the state’s right.

He added that such fees should not be pricey, and that Kuwaitis should not have to incur increased insurance fees because “it is their country and they have the right to benefit from the services.”

Foreigners should not be allowed to exploit Kuwait’s medical services.

Several MPs have pointed out how many foreigners come to the country for the sole purpose of undergoing free or inexpensive medical treatment. “Introducing the medical insurance scheme will help address such abuses,” MP Salah Khorsheed said. ”The state is spending so much money on health and medicine, and foreigners, be they expats or visitors, who benefit from the services should contribute to the expenses.”

Kuwait is home to 4.4 million people, including 3.1 million expatriates (70 per cent) and to 1.3 million Kuwaitis (30 per cent).

Most of the foreigners are unskilled workers in the construction and service sectors.