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Article Details



Healthcare in Saudi Arabia


by Expatguru - 07/22/2011


"This article covers the various aspects of health care and insurance for expatriates planning to work in Saudi Arabia"


Before signing a contract, potential expatriates must pay special attention to health care and insurance. Medical treatment for expatriates is expensive and it is important to be covered by a health insurance.


It has been now made mandatory by the Ministry of Health on all sponsors to insure their employees. However, the extent of coverage has been not been made clear by law. Make sure that your contract covers both “Medical” as well as “Dental”. Though one may tend to assume that dental treatment is covered under medical insurance, it is not the case unless explicitly covered, so please be aware of this vital difference. If your contract covers only “Medical” and in case you need to do a root canal treatment, you would end up paying a fortune for the same.


There are many insurance companies operating in the kingdom offering a wide variety of health insurance schemes. You must produce your insurance card each time you visit a dispensary or a hospital. Depending on the premium paid by your sponsor, the type of coverage varies. If your insurance card is not of the “premium” category, you would have to pay a token amount, usually SR20 to SR30, each time you visit the doctor. This amount would be considered as your contribution and the rest would be covered by your insurance. Assuming a family of four and a monthly visit to the doctor or dentist, this by itself works out to SR960 per year! So, it is essential that you clarify with your sponsor whether “100% medical coverage” is indeed cent percent.


It is quite normal that when dental treatment is covered by your insurance card, it specifically means only consultation, extraction, filling and root canal treatment. Artificial teeth, bridges, dental braces etc., are all considered as cosmetic and are not covered. The same also applies to eye treatment. While the eye doctor’s consultation fee would be covered, frame / lens is considered as cosmetic treatment and not covered. It is normal for expats to buy the frame / lens back home as it works out cheaper.


You must also verify whether maternity and neo natal treatment is covered under your insurance. Again, depending on the premium paid by your company, this is something which varies from one policy to another, so I would advise you to pay extra care to the fine print. You are also free to take your own private health insurance for your family, but this would obviously be at your own cost.


Kidney stones and diabetes are the two common ailments affecting expatriates. Due to high levels of pollution and heat, respiratory and dermatological problems are also common. It is advisable to take an appointment or you would have to wait in long queues before you meet your doctor. Alternative medical treatment like homoeopathy, Ayurveda, etc., are banned in the kingdom.


Prevention is better than cure, so wishing you a healthy tenure in the kingdom!


Expatguru


(2 Votes)

Views: 7465

13 comment(s)


Henry Drake
Friday 29 July 2011, 2:13 pm
Excellent article, which gave a very good insight about the kingdom. All these fine points do matter, isn't it? Thanks for the information and keep up the good work.

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