Jordan insurance conflict: Doctors’ fees dispute sparks legal battle

doctor doctors hand holding stethoscope closeup
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN – The President of the Jordanian Insurance Companies Federation, Majed Smairat, stated on Sunday that the decision made by the Doctors Syndicate to halt the acceptance of insurance cases, except for emergencies, next month, is "illegal."اضافة اعلان

Samirat further added that the Doctors Syndicate has been striving for some time to increase fees by up to 400 percent, and he affirmed that this decision does not have any connection to the insurance companies, Ammon News reported.

He pointed out that the Syndicate's decision is in violation of Article 20 of the Competition Law, describing it as "illegal." He urged the Ministries of Industry, Trade, and Health to promptly address this situation.

On the other hand, Ziad Al-Zoubi, the head of the Doctors Syndicate, indicated that the issuance of a new fee schedule is within their legal rights, and this was the only option left after negotiations with insurance companies failed. He clarified that the new fee schedule incorporates a 30 percent price increase.

Al-Zoubi went on to clarify that the Union's assertion that doctors' fees would increase by 400 percent, as claimed by the Insurance Companies Union, is entirely untrue.

According to Article 20-J of the Competition Law, any association or private entity responsible for regulating a profession or safeguarding the interests of economic or commercial establishments is prohibited from issuing decisions that disrupt or restrict competition, contrary to the provisions of this law or any other legislation. Violators may be subject to penalties outlined in paragraph (b) of this article.

Smairat stressed that insurance companies firmly reject such a decision made by the Syndicate "individually," without coordinating with all relevant parties involved in medical billing. He explained that "the Syndicate is attempting to pressure insurance companies into approving the fee increase, which is unacceptable when citizens' welfare is at stake."

"Insurance companies cover only 8 percent of the total medical bill cost in Jordan, as they are just one of several entities that contribute to the medical expenses paid by citizens," Smairat explained.

He issued a warning that "if the government fails to intervene and regulate this matter, it will lead to severe consequences that will compromise healthcare security. Everyone will bear the repercussions, especially uninsured citizens and economic institutions. Social security will also be affected, and the government's failure to address this issue may result in the decline of medical tourism aspirations."

The Jordanian Doctors Syndicate Council had announced the suspension of insurance case acceptance, effective from September 2nd, with exceptions for emergency cases, cancer patients, and kidney failure cases. They will continue to provide services to patients on a cash basis, following the prevailing pricing from 2021.

Read more National news
Jordan News