Published: Aug 5, 2018

New Bahraini Health Insurance Law Imposes a Universal Health Insurance Mandate Beginning in 2019


The Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain has issued a new law (Bahrain Law No. 23 of 2018) that will make it compulsory for health insurance coverage to be provided to all citizens, residents and visitors to the country as of January 2019.

Proof of insurance is expected to be made mandatory for the renewal of employment permits as well as residence permits.


How will the mandatory health insurance plan be funded?

The mandatory health insurance will be funded through the payment of an insurance subscription that will cover the benefits, which are set out in a package relevant to each category of an insured person e.g. a Citizens’ Package for a Citizen; a Residents’ Package for a Resident; and a Visitors’ Package for a Visitor.

The Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain will pay subscriptions for Bahraini citizens.


How will the expatriate workforce and visitors be enrolled onto the new mandatory health insurance scheme?

  • Employers will need to enrol foreign national employees for insurance.
  • Enrolment for visitors will be covered by the visitors themselves.
  • A list of approved health insurance providers is yet to be published.


Are there any new ways to be able to store your healthcare information within the law?

Article 23 and Article 24 of the law establishes a ‘Unified Electronic Medical Record’ for each person enrolled onto the new insurance scheme and a ‘National Health Data Dictionary’.


The Unified Electronic Medical Record

Each Beneficiary shall have an electronic medical record containing all his health-related data, particularly the data related to his medical condition and data that may be used as a basis for claiming financial benefits for providing health benefits.


National Health Data Dictionary

The Supreme Council of Health shall establish a national Health Data Dictionary that includes a national system of health-related terms, medical coding and an explanation of its vocabulary in a manner in which these terms are classified into categories and arranged in a special order to be a reference for Health Service Providers and insurance coverage providers by using a standardized language that allows technical systems to receive, send, store, display, retrieve or process the dictionary contents.


The new law establishes a Health Information and Knowledge Management Centre

  • Article 20 of the Bahrain Law No. 23 of 2018 mandates the establishment of a Health Information and Knowledge Management Centre by the Supreme Council of Health.
  • Under Article 22 (a) (7) of the same law stipulates that one of the main duties of the Health Information and Knowledge Management Centre is to develop the necessary proposals to enhance the protection of the personal data of those who are enrolled onto the new Insurance Scheme.


Should you require any advice with regard to the abovementioned law that will be effective in January 2019, our Healthcare Practice Group would be happy to assist.


Key Contacts:

Andrea Tithecott, Partner, Head of Regulatory, Head of Healthcare

Foutoun Hajjar, Head of Office – Bahrain