Saudi Arabia is one of the wealthiest Arab countries in the world. The cultural fabric of Saudi Arabia is a blend of traditions and modernity. Islamic laws are the core of the country.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not only renowned for its oil resources, but also because of its robust healthcare care system. The Saudi Arabian healthcare system can match that of any fully developed Western country. This is mainly because the Saudi Arabian government spends more on healthcare than any of its Middle Eastern neighbors. However, it is recommended that expatriates moving to the country purchase expatriate health insurance to ensure full coverage.
Does Saudi Arabia Provide Free Healthcare To Everyone?
Until 2005, the Saudi Arabian government provided free medical care to nationals and expats alike. However, the government found the free healthcare system unsustainable and revoked free facilities from expats and visitors.
The main reason why free healthcare was revoked from expats is that at least 40% of the people in the country are expats and foreigners. Therefore, free healthcare is only provided to Saudi nationals in the country.
As an expat in Saudi Arabia, you must have expat health insurance to provide for your medical needs.
Minimum Coverage Requirements to Get Your Saudi Visa Issued
The Saudi government has laid down healthcare immigration rules for you to get a visa for the country. You need expat health insurance or private health insurance that provides financial coverage for the following types of treatment:
- Preventive medical expenses, such as vaccines
- Dental care
- Hospital in-patient care, including maternity care and surgeries
- Evacuation (complete cost)
- Repatriation to your home country if you were to pass away in Saudi Arabia
Healthcare System in Saudi Arabia
Healthcare in Saudi Arabia is seen as a “right” for both citizens and foreign nationals. The healthcare system has three pillars:
Public Healthcare System
Healthcare is free for all citizens, irrespective of their employment status. Individuals working in the public sector—citizens or expats—can use the public healthcare facilities without any out-of-pocket payment.
Although expats may have access to free healthcare due to the nature of their employment (in the public sector), every non-Saudi national must have private or Saudi Arabia expat health insurance.
The public healthcare system in Saudi Arabia is funded and controlled by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in the country. Healthcare funding is allocated through annual budgets to individual ministries. Royal decrees may be issued by the King of Saudi Arabia to allocate additional funding for special health programs and projects.
Saudi Arabia public health insurance is also generally known as cooperative health insurance.
Private Healthcare System
The private health system is mainly accessed by expats and other foreign nationals. The public healthcare system is very systematic, due to which not many citizens opt for private health insurance.
Military Healthcare System
The military healthcare system can only be used by the military, the royal army personnel, and their families. Separate hospitals are dedicated to their medical service.
Health Insurance Rules for Expats in The Country
The Saudi government mandates private health insurance or expat health insurance for all foreign nationals and expats residing in the country. Without adequate health insurance coverage, a visa is not issued in this Middle Eastern country.
Once you apply for expatriate health insurance, you will be issued an insurance card. Remember to carry the insurance card wherever you go at all times.
How Important Is Health Insurance in Saudi Arabia?
This Middle Eastern country heavily emphasizes buying insurance for every expat and foreign national. The healthcare facility for citizens of the country is free.
The Saudi Arabian medical system accepts every patient with insurance.
As An Expat In Saudi Arabia, You Must Know This…
Most expats in the country will have access to employer-provided health insurance, but you must be aware that:
- The health insurance provided by employers is based on a co-payment system. A co-payment system means that even with employer-provided insurance, individuals will have to pay a subsidized fee for care or doctor visits.
- The employer’s health insurance will not cover every procedure or medical care. Hence, a Saudi Arabia expat health insurance plan is mandatory for all expats.
The employer-provided insurance provides only the most basic level of care, making it important for expats to buy expatriate health insurance for Saudi Arabia to extend their coverage.
Also, employer-provided insurance is only valid as long as you are employed by that company. If you lose your job, you will be without any medical coverage, and you will have to leave the country almost immediately. And during that period, if you need any medical attention, you will have to pay out of your pocket. Therefore, having Saudi Arabian expatriate health insurance is very important.
A good Saudi Arabian expat health insurance plan will cover:
- Eligible medical hospital costs: Inpatient, outpatient, surgeries, maternity care, cancer care, and so on
- Medical evacuation costs and repatriation
- Dental and optical coverage
Language Will Not Be a Barrier for Expats
In Saudi Arabia, where 1 in 5 people are expatriates, it is easy to find English-speaking people in the country. Also, as most of the healthcare professionals are expats, language should not be a barrier for you.
A Saudi Arabian visa is issued to individuals who have medical coverage. This highlights the sensitivity of health insurance in the country. As an expat, you must buy comprehensive expatriate insurance for your family and yourself. Compare plans, select the one that best fits your needs, and ensure full coverage during your time in Saudi Arabia.