Following completion of a study conducted by the Omani Ministry of Health and an international insurance company, the Council of Ministers of the Sultanate of Oman issued its decision number 26/2017 and tasked the Capital Market Authority of Oman (the “CMA”) to prepare and implement a compulsory unified medical insurance scheme regulation to govern the medical insurance granted to all private sector employees in Oman. In implementation of the aforementioned decision, the CMA issued the Unified Health Insurance Policy (the “UHIP”) on 24 March 2019 by virtue of its decision no. 34/2019.

The CMA provided that the new insurance scheme will emphasise on the fairness of the insurance clause for all parties involved in the insurance process, and ensure that the insurance premium will not cause additional burden or  expensive  financial cost on the employers through the limitation of the insurance companies’ profit margins; thus making the scheme more affordable for a wider base of employers. In this respect, Moody’s stated that due to the possible limitation of insurers’ profit margins, it is likely that, following implementation of the compulsory health insurance scheme, a number of such insurers may lose high profit margin business opportunities.

The UHIP constitutes part of the mandatory health insurance plans being rolled out by the government of Oman for private sector workers in Oman, and will be governed by and subjected to special regulations the preparation of which is currently being undertaken by the CMA. It is not yet clear what impact will the implementation of the new health insurance scheme have on existing private insurance schemes that offer benefits higher than those provided under such a new scheme, however it is possible that a downsizing of the insurance benefits would be interpreted as amendment to employment agreements which employers will not be able to implement without obtaining their employees’ approval. The situation will become clearer following issuance of the regulations governing the UHIP, which is expected to take place this year.

The article has been prepared by Al Busaidy, Mansoor Jamal & Co.