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Health Insurance for Expats in Saudi Arabia

Submitted: July 2014

Private health insurance is mandatory for all foreign nationals living in Saudi Arabia. A visa would generally not be issued without adequate health insurance coverage.

Once you are insured, you will normally be issued an insurance card shortly. You should carry that card with you at all times.

 

Minimum coverage requirements

In order to satisfy the Saudi immigration rules, your health insurance policy must include at least the following elements:

  • Medical expenses resulting from illness or injuries
  • Preventive medical expenses (e.g. vaccinations)
  • Hospital in-patient care, including delivery and surgeries
  • Dental care
  • Repatriation to your home country if you die in Saudi Arabia.

 

Cooperative health insurance

Unless you have an international health insurance policy, Saudi policies are generally referred to as “Cooperative Health Insurance Policies”.

Such policies are regulated by the Government, in order to ensure everyone is adequately covered on affordable terms. A cooperative insurer should not reject your application, whether directly or indirectly.

Unless your policy provides otherwise, cooperative health insurance is meant to cover you only in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

 

Cost

There is fierce competition for market shares among Saudi insurers. As a result, there is some good value for money.

Depending on the generosity of your coverage, cooperative health insurance premiums typically range from USD1,200 to USD1,800 per year.

 

Employer-provided health insurance

If you are sent to Saudi Arabia for work, your employer will normally provide you with private health insurance as part of your salary package.

Do check:

  • If your employer is going to provide you with any private health insurance
  • If your insurance is cooperative or commercial
  • If your spouse and/or dependants are covered
  • If that health insurance policy is going to satisfy the Saudi immigration rules
  • If your employer has a specific agreement with a specific hospital.

Fines may apply on companies that hire foreign workers without private health insurance.

 

Direct billing

If you have an insurance policy from a reputable insurer, upfront payment is not always necessary. To this effect, prior registration of your insurance details with your local hospital may be helpful.

Some hospitals, clinics or pharmacies may still, however, ask for an upfront payment. In such cases, you should make sure you get a receipt in order to be reimbursed by your insurer later on.

 

Admission to the hospital

Unless the matter is an emergency, admission to the hospital will typically be made in three steps:

  • A hospital doctor checks the medical treatment you need
  • The hospital tells your insurer
  • Your insurer agrees to go ahead with the treatment.

 

International cover

You should check the geographical coverage of your existing insurance policy, if you have any.

If you have a foreign policy but you haven’t been sold it as an international insurance cover specifically designed for expats, your policy is unlikely to work in Saudi Arabia. In that case, you should let your insurer know that you are moving to Saudi Arabia.

If you stay with your previous foreign insurer, you may have to switch to an international cover. You are likely to be charged extra for this, but do bear in mind that the very fact of being insured in several countries carries an extra burden as well.

A good international cover would insure you against:

  • medical costs in Saudi Arabia
  • medical costs in your home country (or another relevant foreign country), and
  • medical evacuation costs (without adequate insurance, these can be well above  $10,000).

 

Reputable insurers in Saudi Arabia

Well-established insurers in Saudi Arabia include: ACIG; Al Rajhi Insurance; Bupa Saudi Arabia; Gulf General Insurance (GGI); Malath Insurance; MedGulf; MedNet; Saudi National Insurance Company; and Tawuniya.

 

Contribute

We value input from our readers. If you spot an error on this page or have any suggestions, please let us know.

 

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