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Travel ban on expats not paying health fees

KUWAIT: While the State Audit Bureau reported that there are non-Kuwaiti patients who still receive treatment and leaving hospitals without paying any fees, the health ministry said in case of non-payment of deposit and treatment fees, the patient signs an undertaking to pay the fees, while the interior ministry is told to ban the travel of expats who do not pay.

The Audit Bureau also confirmed the continuation of weak supervision by the ministry over health insurance income the concerned company deposited at the Central Bank, which reached around KD 147 million in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 fiscal years. The ministry said the online system is being implemented and is linked with the interior ministry, manpower authority and PACI, in addition to the finance ministry through K-net, so supervision is now complete over the collection of income from health insurance. The bureau said despite the delay in implementing the procedure by the ministry for many years, the bureau appreciates its activation due to its effect in avoiding previous shortcomings and have tight oversight over collection of health insurance.

The bureau said it is not sure what was spent on treatment abroad, with amounts exceeding KD 1 billion over 18 years due to not settling documents and not having medical reviews for most of them to make sure the invoices are correct. This is in violation of ministerial decisions in this regard, as expenses of treatment abroad exceed the available finances, which accumulated debts to foreign hospitals along with the inability to pay them, reaching $301 million at the Washington health office. The ministry also did not follow planned programs to send patients abroad. – Al-Rai

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