Reducing Kuwait’s outbound medical travel

Kuwait International Airport

Kuwait has established a public-private-partnership healthcare system to service expatriates’ health needs.  The offer from Health Assurance Hospitals Company (DHAMAN) means two million expats and families in the country no longer need to go abroad for treatment. This all means that apart from some specialist care, outbound medical travel from Kuwait is decreasing and will continue to decrease as the new systems take hold.

The shareholder structure of DHAMAN consists of government bodies represented by the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA),  the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS), which has a 24% stake, and a strategic partner from the private sector with 26%. The remaining 50% of the company’s shares were allocated for Kuwaiti citizens through an initial public offering.

DHAMAN operates an integrated healthcare system that includes medical insurance programmes, as well as building and operating a network of primary healthcare centres and hospitals that cover all areas in Kuwait. It has hospitals in Dhajeej, Fahaheel, Farawaniya, Hawalli, and Jahra.

DHAMAN and GlobeMed Kuwait, a healthcare benefits management company, have a collaboration agreement to offer access to DHAMAN’S primary healthcare centres, which offer integrated healthcare in family medicine, dentistry, paediatrics, radiology and laboratory services. GlobeMed Kuwait provides support to insurance companies and self-insured schemes.

All the expats and families are covered by the wide ranging compulsory health insurance administered by DHAMAN, and two million residents in Kuwait have transferred from the Ministry of Health’s facilities to the company’s hospitals.

To screen expatriate workers before coming to work in Kuwait, the Health Ministry also has health centres overseas.

Kuwait plans to introduce compulsory health insurance for retired expatriates and for all citizens but the establishment of DHAMAN means there are more services in Ministry of Health hospitals for the free healthcare that all citizens are entitled to.

With the changes to healthcare and health insurance, Kuwait has neither the time nor appetite for inbound medical tourism.