Medical cover a must for families of expats
The Cooperative Health Insurance Council has urged all private businesses to abide by the law and provide compulsory medical insurance for expat employees and their families.
Ibrahim Youssef Al-Raml, a member of the insurance committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “There are some private firms that have not yet implemented the new decision to provide medical insurance to the families of their expatriate staff. This medical insurance is required to renew iqamas.
“The employment contracts of expat workers must include medical insurance for them and family members recorded as dependents.”
Al-Raml added: “The medical insurance is required for all expat workers arriving in the Kingdom, according to new requirements and procedures which have been published on the passport department’s website.”
The passport department will start demanding documents to prove that employers have provided this health insurance cover, he said.
Analysts believe the move will provide good health care for the country’s 8 million expatriates and their dependents and boost the Kingdom’s growing insurance market.
The government recently licensed many insurance companies to meet the growing demand for services, especially in the health sector. The health insurance market has picked up momentum with many hospitals and polyclinics either being set up or expanding their existing capacity.
All private businesses must provide medical insurance for their expatriate workers and families by next month, the Health Insurance Council had decided.
“The insurance coverage must be given to all workers irrespective of the salaries they receive,” the council stated.
It does not apply to the children of Saudi women married to foreign men, or the foreign wives of Saudis. About two million Saudis currently get insurance coverage.
A senior insurance executive told Arab News previously that most companies now provide medical insurance for their workers and family members. He said once government provides medical insurance for all Saudis, this would double the market, which is already worth SR25 billion.
He said the maximum medical insurance coverage for a person would be increased from SR250,000 to SR500,000 from July 1, 2014. “This will naturally increase premiums by 25 to 35 percent,” he said. Some companies have already increased premiums by 5 to 15 percent due to inflation and the rise in medicine prices.