Oman is set to roll out mandatory health insurance which will require all employers in the private sector, including household employers, to provide medical insurance for all their workers.
Among the Top 10 largest destinations of Filipino domestic helpers, Oman remains one of the countries of choice for Pinay workers; however, benefits enjoyed by overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) might not always be at par with those they get from working in other nations.
For instance, many OFWs in Oman, particularly those working in households, are not covered by health insurance. The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POEA) continually reminds employers in Oman to pay their workers at least OMR290 (Php39,000) per month, give them a paid leave of one day per week, and provide them with medical insurance yet many household employers get away with not following these rules.
During cases of medical problems, many employers deduct the costs of the domestic helper’s medical bills from her salary. The worker has the option to purchase an insurance policy, but the costs are often high and difficult for the domestic helper to pay each month.
“A special insurance policy will be issued for domestic workers to provide them with appropriate health care with regard to cost and quality,” said Ahmed Ali Al Mamari, Vice President for Insurance Sector.
“This will be implemented through a partnership with the private sector to furnish an integrated system regulating the relationship between the parties involved in the health insurance represented by the employers, insurance companies, private health services and the beneficiaries.”
In 2011, there were 40,000 OFWs in Oman; the number could have increased in the past years.
Under the Unified Health Insurance Policy (UHIP), employers are required to pay for their employees’ medical insurance. Basic coverage should also include provisions for the transport of the late worker’s body to his/her home country.
Also known simply as “Dhamani”, the mandatory insurance coverage could also include provisions for pregnancy, child birth and child health, dental treatments, eye care, and other medical issues, but such are only optional.
Oman hopes that the new health insurance scheme will attract more workers and investors in the country to help contribute to an increase in its GDP. While this will certainly have a huge impact in the country, the Dhamani is also good news for Filipino workers in the country.