Non-Availability of Cheap Health Insurance – A major problem in Iqama Renewal

The passport department in Jeddah has changed its policy for the renewal of the residential permit which is called iqama. It is necessary for the employers to get the health insurance for their employees for the renewal of the permit. Many guarantors and employees of small corporations are struggling and trying to get a comparatively low-priced health insurance for renewal of iqama (residential permit). The employers are facing many problems for getting health insurance because the insurance companies have stopped issuing the same without telling any reason. The insurance companies are not even giving a straightforward answer for refusing the health insurance. And they are just simply saying that they will do it as soon as possible.[irp]

Saad Al-Ghamdi an employer has more than 200 employees working under him was expressing his problem that he has struggling to get health insurance for his employees so that he could be able to renew their residential permit (iqama) but it is useless. He mentioned that he went to every small insurance company but they delayed the issuance till Sunday but they did not give any reason why they are not providing the health covers. I tried to obtain it from Jeddah, Taif, and Madinah, but got the same response from everywhere,” he said. 

Saad said that this delay will cost him as the validity of the residential permit of his employees already finished on Friday. So now he has to pay fine for holding the renewal. He further explained that he can’t afford the health insurance like BUPA and Tawuniya for his employees as these are the expensive ones and he is the owner of a very small company.

Aleem Zubair, a small-time worker, said that he also visited lot of insurance companies which are easy in the pocket, but they said no to him without giving any explanation. He is facing many problems in renewing the iqama. He said that he does not have enough funds for costly insurance. He also has six members in the family. There are lots of cases where employers compel their workers and employees to pay for their health insurance.  On this reporter verified this news from inexpensive insurance companies.

These small insurance companies confirmed that providing health insurance to the employees had been closed until Sunday. The issuance of health cover will resume from Sunday.  Mohammad Aziz is a representative of a Saudi insurance company named Saudi Next Care Insurance Company.

Mohammed Aziz of Saudi Next Care Insurance Company said all the small cheap insurance companies are not providing insurance right now. If anyone wants the health cover at this moment, he can get it from BUPA or Tawuniya. On the other hand, he is not ready to give the reasoning of this delay.[irp]

He is just simply saying that the work would start again on Sunday.  A spokesperson of the Tawuniya insurance company confirmed that all the big insurance firms are providing health cover and the renewal process iqama was going on efficiently at passport section.

Source: Arab News

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