First phase of compulsory health insurance in Saudi Arabia

Economic plans and compulsory health insurance will reduce the need for Saudis to travel for treatment. By mid 2017, there will be mandatory health insurance for all Saudi employees and their families in the private sector.

The Saudi authorities have introduced the first phase of the one-contract health insurance policy for private sector employees and their dependents. The plan is to protect the rights of the insured and improve the services of health insurance in the Kingdom, according to the Council of Cooperative Health. Private sector employers will have to sign one health insurance contract, which should include employees and their dependents.

CCHI has warned private-sector employers against limiting the number of children covered by the insurance policy of employees: “The company or employer has no right to define the number of insured children in the policy of an employee. The wife and all children up to the age of 25, in addition to unmarried females for whom there is no cap on their age, must be covered in the insurance scheme.”

The decision will be implemented in four phases depending on the number of employees. Each phase is three months long.

  • The first phase of the decision started on 10 July for employers with 100 employees or more.
  • The second phase will start on 10 October. It will cover employers with more than 50 employees.
  • The third phase will start on 10 January 2017 for employers with more than 25 employees.
  • The fourth phase will start on 10 April 2017 for employers with fewer than 25 employees.

So by mid 2017 there will be mandatory health insurance for all Saudi employees and their families in the private sector.

According to the Ministry of Labour, there are 1.6 million Saudis working in the private sector. This means that the total number of Saudis to be covered by the mandatory health insurance could be around six million, with four members per family.

10 million foreigners and their families in the private sector are also required to have mandatory medical insurance.

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic blueprint aims to replace medical treatment abroad with treatment at home. 20,000 Saudis annually used to turn to medical treatment overseas, despite the availability of treatment at home. The government has decided to stop paying for medical treatment overseas as long as the same treatment is available in local medical centres.

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health has outlined plans to nationalise various parts of the healthcare sector with the aim of employing 100,000 Saudis by 2030.