Govt moves to offset medical insurance budget shortfalls

Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly on Sunday said the government was currently taking measures to offset the state-run Medical Insurance Authority’s budget deficit by doubling medical insurance subscription fees–from LE4 to LE8–and levying a 10-percent tax on cigarette sales.

At the official inauguration of the Moqattam Medical Insurance Hospital, el-Gably noted that medical insurance costs had increased slightly after the system was expanded to include more subscribers.

"The deficit will reach LE170 million this year compared to LE168 million last year," he said. "The increase in subscription fees will give us an additional LE70 million while the proposed cigarette tax will bring in the same amount."

"We spent LE250 million to develop our medical insurance system," the minister added, explaining that this amount had been used to finance treatments for various medical conditions.

Parliamentary Speaker and ruling party stalwart Fathi Sorour, for his part, who was also present at the inauguration, praised the new hospital in Moqattam. "It is no less sophisticated than the best hospitals abroad," he said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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