Following healthcare spending cuts as part of the Oman government’s new budget, expats employed in the government sector are no longer able to receive free medical treatment for certain conditions. This includes surgery for 18 different conditions, including cardiac surgery, and free medicine for six illnesses, including medication for arthritis. These new cuts will affect both permanent and part-time workers and came into place on December 5 this year.
Employees of other state organizations have also fallen victim to the spending cuts, following an increase of work visa fees for expats by 50%. These new measures come into place as reports come in that the government is considering further spending cuts for next years budgets, and undoubtedly expats will be the first group to suffer from cuts in social services.
These cuts to the state budget have followed a drop in the price of oil, which is the principal economy of the country. The country’s deficit from spending has already come in higher than expected, so projections based on similar oil prices for next year will probably mean the government will continue to cut back on social benefits. However, state officials have promised that salaries will remain the same.
Oman has traditionally had a high standard public health service that offers free or low cost healthcare for nationals. These facilities were traditionally open to foreigners as well, but now it seems that expats will need to seek out additional health insurance to insure that they are covered for all procedures in the worst case scenario.