Minister of Health Dr Hamad Al-Manie called for the rapid implementation of a mandatory cooperative health insurance plan for expatriates, warning that delays would cost the Saudi government millions, the Arab News reported today.
The health plan for expatriates is being implemented in phases. In the first phase it was applied to companies with 500 or more employees. In the second phase, which begins January 2006, the plan will be applied to small and medium companies with 100 or more employees. By the end of 2006, the plan will provide coverage for all expatriates, including domestic help and drivers, Al-Manie said in remarks to reporters.
The minister added that the plan will be implemented for Saudis in January, 2007, and is expected to provide coverage for all Saudis by the beginning of 2008.
The implementation of the plan for both Saudis and expatriates is expected to increase Saudi Arabia’s insurance market.
Around 30 foreign insurance companies have applied to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) for licenses, but none have been granted as yet. Companies say that they have been facing obstacles from government departments to complete the licensing procedures, the Arab News reported.