Across Lebanon, numerous employees rely on the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) for its insurance services that cover illness, maternity care, family allowance, end-of-service pensions, in addition to work-related accidents and other medical cases.
The fund serves a particularly important role in the wake of the current crisis engulfing the country, as medical bills have significantly inflated and even the most prominent hospitals are struggling to maintain their operation.
But just like the medical sector is threatened with collapse, the NSSF itself faces a crisis that, if it does come, will bring a giant new catastrophe down on the Lebanese people.
In a statement, Mohammad Karake, the head of the NSSF, demanded that the Finance Ministry releases the 4 trillion Lebanese pounds that it owes to the fund, warning that the ministry will otherwise face “a social catastrophe never before seen in the country.”
If the sum is not paid up, more than 1.6 million people will be left without medical coverage after the end of the current year, Karake stressed.
This is because, in such a scenario, the fund would be forced to stop providing services to hospitals, doctors, and nurses, in addition to the citizens covered by it.
Karake recently submitted a proposal regarding protecting end-of-service indemnities for insured individuals, considering that these indemnities have lost about 80% of their purchasing power with the collapse of the Lebanese pound against the US dollar.
The end of the current year is expected to bring more woes to Lebanon, especially due to the fact that the central bank’s subsidies on essential items are expected to be lifted by 2021.