Lawmakers have been pushing to charge foreigners who they believe were exploiting Kuwait’s cheap or free medical services
Kuwait’s health ministry has announced new health care service fees for expatriates and visitors.
The move comes after a campaign by some lawmakers to charge expatriates who, they believe, were exploiting the largesse of free or cheap health ministry services in the country. The fees for services now include natural child delivery, open heart surgery, nuclear medicine, radiology tests, laboratory tests and artificial limbs will be implemented starting October 1, the ministry said in a statement.
Under the new plan, the fee for regular consultation at the health centres is two Kuwaiti dinars while the emergency consultation fee is KD5 at specialised and general hospitals and KD10 at outpatient clinics.
The cost of admission is KD10 in the general wards per day and KD30 at the intensive care units.
Patients who take private rooms will be charged KD50 for admission with a KD200 guarantee.
Visits to the casualty and outpatient clinics will cover medicine, regular X-rays and regular tests, but the cost of admission does not cover surgeries, laboratory tests and X-rays, according to the statement published in Kuwaiti daily Arab Times.
Regarding normal child delivery, the fee is KD10 per visit while the delivery cost is KD50.
Fees for 74 nuclear medicine tests, including bone, regular thyroid activity, cancerous thyroid activity, radioactive iodine, primary hyperparathyroidism, congenital lachrymal, oesophagus and gall bladder, kidney, spleen, blood vessels, testicles, breast, bone marrow, suprarenal, neuroma, lymph node, prostate and other tests, will cost between KD40 and KD500.
Fees for 32 radiology tests vary and will reach to KD120.
The ministry also increased fees for health care services offered to foreigners and people who are not registered under the health insurance scheme.
Fees for services will be paid through the online system in all medical facilities before availing health care services in the form of revenue stamps or through the concerned account clerks, the ministry said.
Foreigners make up around 70 per cent of the total population of 4.2 million, mainly Asians and Arabs, working in the construction and service sectors.
The demographic imbalance has prompted several lawmakers to press for introducing policies that would increase the percentage of Kuwaitis in the northern Arabian Gulf country.
Lawmakers have complained that the health sector has been deeply affected by the expenses incurred by the health ministry to provide health care services for expatriates.
Suggestions included imposing health insurance schemes on all foreigners.