Only one per cent of the total policies registered with insurance companies in Oman is for health compared to 75.4 per cent of vehicle insurance, according to figures of National Statistics and Information (NCSI). The figures look surprising because 70 per cent of mortality cases reported in Oman is due to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases. Apart from high premiums for insurance policies, one of the reasons for the low demand for policies over these years has been the free treatment of Omanis in government hospitals.
But of late many citizens have started moving to private healthcare for various reasons – the main being the difficulty in getting appointments for medical examinations. Out of the nearly four million outpatient visits to the private health institutions, 50.6 per cent (1,958,757) of these were made by citizens as against 1,909,985 by non-Omanis or expatriates, according to Ministry of Health’s annual report in 2017. In 2018, of the total 2,007,860 insurance policies registered in Oman, 20,601 were for health compared to 1,505,828 motor vehicle policies.
In 2017, 1,402,381 motor vehicle policies were issued, (81.4) per cent of the total policies, compared to 14,325 health policies (0.8 per cent). In 2016, the number of motor vehicle policies issued were 1,340,518 policies or 80.7 per cent, compared to 13,099 health policies (0.8 per cent). Apart from the motor vehicle insurances, nearly 14.2 per cent of the policies insured in 2018 were for life, which saw an increase from 6.3 in 2017 and 6.9 in 2016. The unified health insurance scheme (Dhamani) is expected to provide insurance coverage for 2.1 million workers in the private sector (both Omanis and residents).
The government expects the increased demand for the health insurance policy will contribute to attracting international companies specialised in rendering high-quality services. Dhamani would also boost the GDP of the country and creation of insurance companies and private health institutions in addition to specialized health insurance third party administrators as brokers between health services providers and insurance companies.