Over three million Egyptians have registered in the country's new healthcare insurance system in six governorates, the Healthcare Insurance Authority announced on Wednesday in a statement reported by Al-Ahram Arabic news website.
Egypt's new universal healthcare scheme came into effect last year with a pilot launch in Port Said in July 2019. It is scheduled to be rolled out in all of the country's governorates by 2032 throughout six phases.
As many as 3,125,500 citizens were included in the new system's records in Port Said, Luxor, Ismailia, Aswan, Suez, South Sinai, according to the statement.
From October 2019 to date, up to 603,000 citizens were registered in Port Said, 800,000 were registered in Luxor, 920,000 were registered in Ismailia, 548,000 were registered in Aswan, 176,500 were registered in Suez, and 78,000 were registered in South Sinai.
"Within the coming few days, the experimental insurance system operation will launch in Luxor and Ismailia," stated Ahmed El-Sobky, head of healthcare insurance administration.
The total cost of the operation in both governorates amounts to EGP 19.750 billion ($1.26 billion); up to EGP 10.125 billion ($64 million) for Ismailia and EGP 9.625 billion ($61 million) for Luxor, El-Sobky added.
He noted that all medical facilities in governorates within the first phase have been upgraded to world-class quality construction, equipped with the latest medical preparations, and provided with experienced and efficient medical staffers.
The older insurance system, which dates back to the 1960s, has been criticised as substandard and is being supplanted by a new scheme, dubbed the "new universal healthcare insurance", with the aim of overcoming its predecessor's shortcomings.
The new system aims to cover all nationals, instead of only 60 percent of the population under the old system.
Under the new system, citizens should register with the Ministry of Health's medical units in their governorate, and conduct a medical examination. The patients will be admitted to a hospital after being referred from a medical unit. However, emergency cases will be admitted to hospitals without referrals.
According to Egypt's Minister of Finance, Mohamed Maait, the total cost of the new system is expected to hit EGP 210 billion ($ 13.38 billion) annually once the entire population, estimated at over 100 million citizens, registers in the new system by 2032.