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Expatriates living in Kuwait could soon be faced with higher medical bills after the government proposed increasing fees for foreigners living in the country.
In the past expats have been entitled to free or low cost treatment on a par with citizens of the nation, but the Ministry of Health wants to introduce the change in order to boost profits.
It is generally considered that the Kuwaiti healthcare system is good, with the majority of the facilities staffed by foreign workers.
This means that patients are treated quickly and efficiently without having to wait for days to see a doctor or have their symptoms dealt with.
There has been some concern however, that treatment centres have started to become overcrowded and by charging expats for care, this may be addressed, the administration believes.
Another solution to this situation was put forward last month when state officials suggested that there should be specific hours for nationals and expats to visit facilities separately.
This would see Kuwaitis attending clinics and hospitals in the morning while foreigners seek treatment in the afternoon, although emergency cases would be exempt from the system.
As a continuation of this, medical staff could also be segregated based on their nationality to treat prospective patients.
The services which are likely to incur fees for expats are the likes of check-ups, lab tests and surgery, the Ministry of Health has said.
It believes that things such as x-rays are costly and should not be provided for free by the state.
The ministry also thinks that the free nature of care in Kuwait does not reflect the high quality that is received and is therefore worth paying for.
So far the changes have just been proposals and the next step is for the plans to be scrutinised by Mohammed Al-Haifi, the health minister.
If he approves the ideas then a timetable will need to be put in place for implementation.
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