An expat guide to healthcare and health insurance in Oman
Are you researching an expat health insurance for Oman? It is important to find out about the local healthcare system first.
Whether you are moving to Oman or you are already living there as an expat, read our guide to the Omani healthcare system, your different options of medical insurance for Oman, and an overview of the average cost of local healthcare.
- Total Population (2017): 4.636 million
- Gross national income per capita (PPP international $, 2017): 40,240
- Life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2016): 75/80
- Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population, 2016): 108/68
- Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2014): 1442
- Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2014): 3.5
Healthcare in Oman for expats
The quality of the health system
Although the Omani health system is considered good quality, foreigners do not have subsidised access to it. Expats are therefore recommended to have private health insurance in Oman.
As part of its various modernisation policies, the Sultanate of Oman has made considerable progress in areas of health, including access to drinking water, sanitation, reduction of infectious diseases, infant mortality and maternal mortality. Contagious diseases such as typhoid and measles, which were fairly common in the past, are now almost eradicated.
Today Oman has a high quality health care network both in the public and private sectors, at or above Western standards.
The sultanate has 59 hospitals (87% of which are public), 900 health centres and about 5000 health professionals. Most hospitals are located in the capital city of Muscat, but the rest of the country still has good coverage in terms of medical facilities, with at least one health centre within a radius of 5 km.
The public health system
Health insurance in Oman is subsidised for nationals but not for expats. The only cases in which expats have free access to public health services are emergencies and situations where a particular treatment is not available in the private sector (in this case, it must first be referred by a health centre).
Ambulance services are charged to you, and cost between 15 and 100 Omani Rials ($38-$259 or £30-£202), depending on the circumstances.
Public hospitals also charge fees for admissions and stays, between 20 and 250 Rials ($52-$648 or £40-£505). This price depends on the hospital and type of admission. Consult the prices of health services in the public sector on the Omani Ministry of Health’s website.
To access public medical services you must first register at your nearest health centre.
All medical bills must be payed immediately and since 1st January 2018, all payments to public hospitals must be made by bank card.
For these reasons, it is essential for an expat to have health insurance in Oman, whether you choose to seek treatment in public or private institutions.
The Sultanate of Oman announced the introduction of compulsory health insurance as of 2019. The reform will be implemented in a phased manner. Visitors will be the first category of people to have to purchase private medical insurance before entering the country from 2019. This law is still being defined. Oman planned to implement compulsory health insurance some time ago but there have been delays. At the end of 2017, the Omani government had already announced that all private sector workers, including expatriates, must hold private health insurance as of January 2018. However, in spite of the delays, it is strongly recommended for expats to sign up to a medical health insurance valid in Oman, before entering the country.
The Sultanate of Oman announced the introduction of compulsory health insurance as of 2019. The reform will be implemented in a phased manner. Visitors will be the first category of people to have to purchase private medical insurance before entering the country from 2019.
This law is still being defined. Oman planned to implement compulsory health insurance some time ago but there have been delays. At the end of 2017, the Omani government had already announced that all private sector workers, including expatriates, must hold private health insurance as of January 2018.
However, in spite of the delays, it is strongly recommended for expats to sign up to a medical health insurance valid in Oman, before entering the country.
Private healthcare in Oman
As healthcare in the public sector is not free for expats, many choose to consult privately. As is the case in many countries, waiting lists in public health facilities can be long. Conversely, private institutions such as Muscat Private Hospital or Al Shatti Hospital have walk-in clinics, which allow you to be seen by a doctor immediately. Facilities are usually more comfortable in the private sector, and healthcare professionals also tend to speak English.
Private care is particularly expensive and medical bills must be paid immediately, which is another reason to take out an expat health insurance in Oman.
Article 33 of the Omani Labor Law stipulates that “if the worker is treated in a government or private hospital, the employer shall incur the cost of treatment, medicine and in-patient care.”
The Omani government has decided to go even further in this effort to cover private sector employees: in September 2017 the Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Obaid Al Saidi, announced the obligation for private health insurance for all workers in the private sector, whether they are Omani or expats, with the measure coming into force as of January 2018 for expats. (This has now been delayed to 2019.)
International health insurance for expats in Oman
As explained above, the Omani health system is free only for nationals. Expats working in the private sector must now, according to official declarations, have health insurance. For these reasons, it is strongly recommended to have private health insurance as an expatriate in Oman.
You have the choice between a local health insurance (which covers you only in the territory of the Sultanate of Oman) or international insurance (which covers you in other countries besides Oman).
International health insurance is generally the most suitable option for the expat lifestyle. With this type of insurance, if you decide to seek treatment in your country of origin or another country in the case of a specific treatment, your medical expenses will be covered. Moreover, if after Oman you move to another country, your international health insurance can follow you, unlike with local insurance.
If you would like wider financial protection in the event of stopping work due to an accident or disabling illness, Expat Assure can also advise you on expat life insurance for Oman and income protection. To find out more, please, read our pages on expat life insurance and expat income protection.
What is the best health insurance for expats in Oman?
The best health insurance in Oman for one expat might not be the best for you, as everyone has different needs and expectations.
In order to find which one is the best health insurance in Oman for you, it is important to consider several aspects such as your medical history, your age, your specific needs in terms of medical cover, your situation in Oman, alongside other parameters.
How much does healthcare cost in Oman?
Consultation with a general practitioner: 10 – 20 Omani Rials ($25-$51 or £20-£40)
Consultation with a specialist: 20-30 Rials ($51-$77 or £40-£60), depending on the specialism
Home consultation: 100 Rials ($259 or £202)
X-ray: 18 Rials ($46 or £36)
Physiotherapy session: 20 Rials ($52 or £40)
Consultation with a dentist and descaling: 10-15 Rials ($26-$39 or £20-£30)
Consultation with a dental hygienist (for a dental cleaning the consultation may be with a dental hygienist rather than a dentist): 30-35 Rials ($77-$90 or £60-£70)
Filling: 20-25 Rials ($52-$64 or £40-£50) (the price depends on the material used)
Single hospital room: 50-400 Rials ($130-$1038 or £101-£808) per night in a private hospital and 10-250 Rials ($25-$648 or £20-£505) in a public hospital. These prices vary depending on the type of room – a standard room or a suite.
Intensive care room: 300-800 Rials ($778-$2076 or £606-£1617) in a private hospital. 30-40 Rials ($77-$103 or £60-£80) in a public hospital. This price depends on the condition of the patient.
What is the cost of private health insurance in Oman?
Such as with any type of health insurance, the price of medical insurance for expats in Oman varies greatly depending on the personal situation, the age and the medical history of each individual as well as other parameters.
Police and firefighters: 999
For accidents and serious cases:
Khoula Hospital: (+968) 24 560 455. Emergency: (+968) 24 563 625
Royal Hospital: (+968) 24 599 000. Emergency: (+968) 24 590 491
No specific vaccination is required to enter Oman, but it is recommended to have an up-to-date vaccination schedule.
Certain drugs considered as common in Western countries are banned in the Sultanate of Oman (antidepressants, for example). It is advisable to always have your doctor’s prescription if you take them with you.
Attention to heat
Although the winter months (October to March) in Oman offer some of the most pleasant weather conditions in the world, the temperature can reach 50°C in summer. The risks of sunstroke and sunburn are therefore very high. Dehydration is another threat not to be underestimated as it is potentially life-threatening.
Water is drinkable in most cities in Oman, but if you are going to a rural area it is advisable to take water purifying tablets with you.
- List of public medical facilities on the Omani Ministry of Health website
- List of public and private hospitals
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