The government of Bahrain has issued a new law that will make it compulsory for health insurance coverage to be provided to all citizens, residents and visitors to the country. While the intent has been announced, the specific law has not yet been made public, and hence no specific guidance has been shared to what (if any) customer level compliance data will be required.
In May 2018, the government issued Health Insurance Law No. 23 of 2018, making health insurance coverage mandatory for all citizens, residents and visitors to Bahrain beginning January 2019. However, the planned implementation date was missed and the National Health Insurance Scheme for expats, Sehati, is expected to become compulsory in late 2020 or early 2021. Expats will be covered by employer-paid insurance, entitling them to treatment at private and public facilities.
The Bahraini government has engaged consultants to design a plan for Individual Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) for the expatriate population. Another working group is designing a plan for nationals.
Once the new plan is finalized, the law will apply to all nationals, residents and visitors (beneficiaries), except for foreigners associated with diplomatic and related missions in Bahrain.
The government is expected to review the Sehati scheme recommendations in mid-2020, including procedures for implementation. Employers should monitor the government’s plan to ensure compliance once the reform is passed.