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Insurer says 2008 too early

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Legislation to make health insurance compulsory for expats in Bahrain is likely to help the private sector grow, says health insurance company Bahrain National Life (BNL).


"At the macro-economic level, the government would like to shift the cost and burden on resources away from the public sector and the government hospitals. The resources would be shifted to the private sector and costs to employers. Rather than create a huge infrastructure it makes sense to shift the medical health insurance out of the government sector and help the private sector expand."  says BNL general manager Patrick Byrne


BNL says it has the expertise to cater to specific needs in individual cases. BNL says, "Other companies will offer standard products due to their dependence on re-insurance companies. BNL can tailor your medical insurance to meet specific requirements."


BNL argues that compulsory health insurance scheme for expats in Bahrain is not expected to be ready by 2008.They reason that it will take time to get the private sector on board, and also the insurance companies need to agree to the proposals and work jointly.


"Normally compulsory insurance is very unattractive to insurance companies, because where insurance is forced on people, people buy it reluctantly and don't want to pay for it. This would make it the bottom end of insurance, and the insurance company would not make much profit from these types of cover," Byrne says.


History in other Gulf states does not support the BNL theory. Governments have introduced legislation, and if health insurers want the business they have to comply with laid down rules. Governments do not tend to wait until insurers can get products and pricing to their liking.


Private hospital news : 03/09/2007


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