Medical or Health Insurance is a strict requirement in some countries, while in some there is no general concept of health insurance. These health insurances allow the insurer free medical coverage in most government-owned hospitals and a few privately-owned ones which are included in their plan. However, free medical treatments, from government hospitals, are one facility that expatriates in the country cannot utilize. In the case of Saudi Arabia, all expatriates residing in the country have to get private health insurance.[irp]
A private health insurance allows an access to all the medical facilities operated by the government and a few private hospitals and clinics. Usually, a list of available hospitals and clinics will be provided by the company, at the time of purchase of the insurance. Health insurance for employees, and in some cases their spouses and dependent children, is usually provided by their employers. Insurance cards are issued after joining work and western applicants enjoy the liberty of not going through a health test.
Even in insurance, there are several levels of insurance starting from the basic package to the top most packages. It is vital that the extent of the coverage and the facilities provided should be discussed before signing the employment contract. This advice comes in handy to particularly those families with children or just even a spouse accompanying them. Comprehensive insurance costs start from SR 4,500 to SR 6,500 yearly. The minimum most medical coverage, which is allowed legally, usually includes the following things;
1-Complete medical expense coverage, which has been caused by either injury or sickness. This can include examinations, diagnosis, and medications.
2-Vaccinations and another preventive measure for the care of children and mothers. However, you don’t need this coverage if your family is not residing with you in Saudi Arabia.
3-In-patient treatment and care which include any operations or childbirth
4-Gum and other dental treatments, which may include implants and various orthodontic treatments.
5-In the event of death, returning of the remains to the home country
6-Even with medical insurance, a few hospitals and clinics still demand payment for medical services or medicines in advance, which may be reimbursed later by the insurer. If such a situation comes up, it is vital to properly store each receipt for the treatment and the receipts from the pharmacy. Small excess payment of about SR 100 is normally paid per visit to hospitals or clinics. Such a scenario should also be discussed with the insurance company beforehand. As an insurance alternative, many employers have started to do contracts with specific hospitals.[irp]
Some of the top insurance companies in the Kingdom are Tawuniya, Saudi National Insurance Company, and Al-Rajhi Insurance. These insurance companies have been recommended by friends and colleagues and personally, I also recommend these as the best in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Seeing how important medical insurance and their terms of the contract are, it is a better option to read first and then sign, rather than, sign first and then whine. This will ensure that you understand what is in the contract and will avoid any future disputes.