Preparations are underway for the introduction of the second phase of the mandatory health insurance scheme for citizens working within the private sector within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Council of Cooperative Health (the CCHI) has warned employers against placing a limit on the number of children (classified as those under the age of 25, or unmarried women of any age) who can be insured under an employee's scheme. This move comes after a minority of businesses who are already adhering to the project attempted to limit the number of dependents covered under their employee’s insurance.
Commenting on the matter the CCHI stated that; “the company or employer has no right to define the number of insured children in the policy of an employee.”
Despite this minor issue, phase 1 has been described as a success, with phase 2 scheduled to be introduced in the middle of October for companies employing more than 50 members of staff. Phase 3 - for those employing more than 25 people - and 4 - for any business with less than that number - are on track to be introduced in early to mid 2017.
Saudi Government Stops Overseas Medical Treatment
It is hoped by the Saudi Government that this, along with their refusal to pay for overseas treatment if it is available locally, will end the need for almost 20,000 Saudis a year to go overseas for their medical treatment by the year 2030.
Only time will tell how successful the introduction of mandatory health insurance is in achieving this aim. However with plenty of funding for the state health care system already available, there seems no reason that Saudi Arabia itself cannot become a health superpower.