Expats in Bahrain 'to undergo medical check-ups'

Proposed new rules are part of sweeping plans to improve healthcare services for citizens

Bahrain has announced sweeping plans to enhance the role of private health institutions and insurance companies in the country, including making it mandatory for expats to undergo regular private check-ups.

Expats will have to undergo medical check-ups as a condition of renewing their residency permits as part of a new health bill approved by Bahrain's Shura council last week. Under the current law, only expats working in specific sectors have to undergo check ups. The bill is awaiting approval by King Hamad Al Khalifa, according to local media.

Meanwhile, under sweeping healthcare reforms set to be introduced in the country, expats’ health insurance will be covered by companies, while national citizens’ healthcare will be covered by the National Health Insurance scheme, the chairman of Bahrain's Supreme Council for Health, Sheikh Mohammed Al Khalifa, was quoted as saying last week.

Gulf Daily News reported that citizens would have the option to choose from three healthcare packages. The base package will provide them with services directly from government healthcare providers - the cost covered by government.

The second package would allow citizens to receive healthcare from private health services providers - although they will be required to pay part of the cost. The third option offers citizens the choice of any health package from an approved health insurance company.

However, citizens can still opt for government-provided healthcare services regardless of their package, Al Khalifa added.

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