Insurance federation members walk out of meeting over accusations of cheating citizens

1 comittee meeting Petra
Members of the Jordan Insurance Federation left a meeting after accusations of cheating citizens were raised during a House meeting on Monday. (Photo: Petra)
AMMAN — Members of the Jordan Insurance Federation walked out of the Parliamentary Health and Environment Committee meeting Monday over accusations from deputies that insurers were grabbing citizens money.اضافة اعلان

The meeting at the House of Representatives was attended by deputies, members of the Jordanian Medical Association, and the secretary-general of the Ministry of Health, as well as members of the Jordan Insurance Federation. 

Head of the Parliamentary Health and Environment Committee, MP Ahmed Al-Sarrahna, told Jordan News that the meeting aimed to discuss several points, the most important of which was the reliability of the largest possible number of health service providers in order to serve beneficiaries.

Also discussed was the insurance payout ceiling and quality of medical services and the need to avoid delays in approvals for patient treatments given to clinics and hospitals, so as to avoid health complications resulting from any delay.

“Sometimes a nurse or a nurse assistant is appointed to give insurance approvals. This is unacceptable. The person concerned with the approvals must be a doctor so that he can diagnose and evaluate the case. This is one of the topics of the meeting that we intended to discuss,” Sarrahna said.

He claimed that the disruption of the meeting was planned. “Myself and a member of the Doctors Syndicate, Maysam Akroush, heard the members of the Jordan Insurance Federation say ‘we will thwart the meeting and we will leave’,” Sarrahna said. He said that the parliamentary committee will file a complaint against the federation with the concerned authorities, and the matter will be pursued legally.

As for the reason for the dispute with the federation, Sarrahna said that it is because of their “prejudice” on the pockets of citizens, pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and various medical facilities covered by insurers. “They are profitable companies at the end of the day and all they care about is their high profits at low cost to them,” he added.

For his part, the head of the Jordan Insurance Federation, Majed Smeirat, told Jordan News that the federation received an invitation from the health committee, but that the subject of the meeting was not mentioned.

“Unfortunately, as usual, there were no details of the meeting’s agenda. We attended the meeting and were ready to respond to any query, although the House of Representatives has nothing to do with us,” Smeirat said.

He said that he was surprised by the presence of members of the Doctors Syndicate, and that the meeting began by talking about an update of the medical price list. 

“No one told us about the new price list, we were still discussing the 2017 list, and we were surprised by the 2021 list. Any change in the price list must be based on a decision from four parties: Social Security, insurance companies, private health care funds, and the Consumer Protection Directorate, in addition to the Ministry of Health,” Smeirat said.

Smeirat explained that in the past four years, profits from the health insurance sector was just JD4 million. 

“If in 2017 we were discussing an increase in costs of JD10 million to be borne by insurance companies, what would the 2021 price list be like? The increase in medical sector wages introduced by the government is the real prejudice on the pocket of the citizen, who will bear all the costs in the end?” Smeirat asked.

He said that 30 percent of Jordan’s population does not even have insurance. “This category will bear the bulk of the difference in health care prices. Where is consumer protection? I think that consumer protection should include them under its umbrella,” Samirat said.

As for the accusation of “prejudice” on the citizen’s pocket, Samirat said “the accusation is not acceptable. I asked the deputy who accused the insurance companies of prejudicing the citizen’s pocket to withdraw his accusation, but he refused, and that is why I decided to withdraw from the meeting.”

He said that he who raises prices is the one who must bear the responsibility and the government has a great responsibility in that regard.  

Smeirat said that the price hike must be stopped and the opinion of the concerned authorities about the cost of health care must be taken, such as social security, insurance companies, private health care funds and consumer protection under the umbrella of the Ministry of Health.

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