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Healthcare in Saudi Arabia 2021

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How does the health system work in Saudi Arabia?

The government provides free public health services to Saudi citizens and public sector employees, largely driven by oil revenues.

Health insurance is mandatory for everyone, including expats, under the Cooperative Health Insurance Act of 1999.

Expats, if employed, must receive health care coverage from their employer, although they can also choose to purchase an additional insurance policy.

Saudi citizens and public sector employees have health insurance through free government coverage.

The Ministry of Health oversees the public health care system and regulates private health care companies, which provide medical services to approximately one-third of the country's population.

The public health system provides comprehensive health care, including the following free services:

  • General practitioner services
  • Inpatient care
  • Outpatient Clinics
  • specialized care
  • Dental care
  • prescriptions
  • Care during pregnancy and postpartum
  • mental health care

The government's Saudi Vision 2030 aims to further privatize the health care system, as the country's rulers try to diversify its economy and cut spending, but for now, public health care is completely free to citizens.

Is medical care free in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, it is completely free, but only if you are a Saudi citizen, wife of a Saudi citizen, daughter of a Saudi citizen, or public sector worker.

Otherwise, your employer is legally obligated to provide you with private health insurance, which you must accept.

In-person payments in Saudi Arabia account for 14.37% of national healthcare spending, which is more than 10.81% in the US, but less than in Canada or the UK.

And with no personal taxes to pay, healthcare or otherwise, you should have more disposable income than you would anywhere else.

Healthcare in Saudi Arabia for foreigners

Your employer must provide you with health insurance, as well as your spouse, children under the age of 25, and unmarried and / or unemployed daughters.

If your parents or siblings accompany you to Saudi Arabia, they will need to purchase their own insurance policy.

You can also buy additional coverage, which you can do if your company's insurance package is very basic.

11 million people in Saudi Arabia have private health coverage, roughly equal to the number of expatriates in the country. If you want, or need, to join them, we recommend Cigna.

Do I need health insurance in Saudi Arabia?

Yes really. Either you will automatically be covered as a Saudi citizen or public employee, or you must obtain private health insurance.

Your company is required to offer you private insurance and you can buy an additional policy if you think you need more coverage.

Benefits of Private Health Coverage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

  • Shorter waiting times
  • Covers more of your potential costs
  • Peace of mind
  • You will receive the highest level of care possible
  • Latest medical equipment
  • Fewer unexpected out-of-pocket expenses means you can budget for your health care in advance
  • Staff are more likely to speak English
  • The paperwork is also likely in English