Oman’s foreign workforce run for coverage! Health insurance made mandatory for expatriates.

Don’t bother trying to get off the plane in Oman if you do not have expatriate health insurance.

Following the government’s recent announcement, you need to have coverage in place before arriving. Only 12.3% of the workers in the private sector of Oman’s workforce are natives to the country. This means that a whopping 87.7% of the workforce are expatriates, foreigners working outside their country. And only ten percent of said foreigners have health insurance. In lieu of this, millions are running for the new mandatory coverage, be it provided by their employers or not, it’s now compulsory.

Furthermore, these are high quality professionals, considering that it’s illegal to work on a Visitor’s Visa. All employees must have firm jobs, firm offers and robust contracts. Expatriates are expected to work hard, and work well in the country. This cream-of-the-crop culture has worked particularly well in a country with such a massive expatriate population, considering.

With hard work, comes a necessity for good coverage. The country spent 62 billion dollars in healthcare in 2016, and this number is expected to double to 132 billion by 2020. Meeting this health burden has not been easy for the government and ergo, they have required the private healthcare sector bear some of that weight. International expatriate healthcare insurers have been summoned to step up to the plate.

What is expatriate health insurance anyways?

Expatriate health insurance is a type of health insurance specialized for people on extended stays outside of their native country. (Such as 80% of the Omani workforce) Companies such as WellAway Limited have world wide networks and constant care and specialized aids for global citizens. They have everything from repatriation, evacuation, medical primary and specialist care, medications and more… You can even choose plans that involve kidnap, ransom and terrorism.

If you are an expatriate working in Oman, for example, you might choose their OneWorld plan, international health insurance with rich benefits, comprehensive coverage, access to a worldwide network of medical providers with a direct billing system and 24/7 medical assistance, e-consultations and a variety of other services.

Right now, only 10% of “expats” in Oman have health insurance, so the market will soon be flooded with new customers.

The Council of Ministers approved the mandatory insurance proposal, submitted by the Capital Market Authority (CMA) and set the effective date for 2018.  The CMA’s Executive President, Abdullah bin Salim alSalmi (pictured) said, “we have just been informed that the CMA’s proposal for making healthcare insurance compulsory for expatriates has been approved by the government. This is a positive step, and comes at an opportune time”

Al Salim has been the CMA’s president since 2012, and had been the Vice President since 1999.

High quality employees are a priority for Omani companies, and with this historic announcement, expatriate health insurance will prove to be an asset for companies leveraging the retention of their best workers. Companies such as WellAway Limited (who is based out of the island of Bermuda, and enjoys worldwide success) offer group options for companies to provide their employees, as well as individual plans for individuals working for companies that are not offering plans. It is no longer an option to remain uninsured in this Middle Eastern region, and WellAway Limited, as well as a myriad of other insurers have opened their arms to provide coverage to the Omani workforce.

by: Armando A. Diaz, Writer

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