Special health insurance for citizens within 5 years

Scheme to cover all segments of society

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Dr. Mohammed Al-Sagheer

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH
— The Saudi government will introduce a special medical insurance coverage for citizens in place of existing health insurance schemes offered by private insurance companies, according to a senior Health Ministry official.

Dr. Mohammed Al-Sagheer, assistance undersecretary at the ministry, has said there will not be traditional medical insurance for Saudi citizens but the government will provide an advanced coverage for them.

"The traditional medical insurance will not succeed in the Kingdom for a variety of reasons as it does not provide coverage for the elderly, people with chronic diseases, patients needing organ transplant and dental care," he said.

Al-Sagheer said the medical coverage to be introduced by the government in five years would cover all these diseases.

"The government will pay the insurance providers after signing long-term contracts with them to provide citizens with a consummate healthcare services," he said.

Al-Sagheer said the medical insurance to be provided by the government to the citizens would consist of treating all types of diseases in all segments of society regardless of age. "It will also cover unemployed citizens," he added.

He hoped that the private medical insurance companies would expand their services to be able to compete with the government insurance scheme.

Meanwhile, the ministry revealed in its annual report for the year 2016-2017 that its national transformation initiatives were aimed at saving more than SR26 billion in operational expenditures.

The report said the ministry would create more than 31,000 jobs within the next five years and would generate revenues of more than SR31 billion during 2016-2020.

The ministry said it had constructed 82 medical centers and 36 hospitals with a combined capacity of 8,900 beds including 19 new facilities with a capacity of 7,080 beds.

The report attributed rising expenditures to the high prices of rented facilities and said it covered only about 60 percent of the medical services required by the citizens.

The ministry said during the past year, it spent more than SR100 billion on salaries and various medical programs.

The report said the ministry would seek the help of the public sector companies to manage its health facilities while it would dedicate all its efforts to supervision and control so as to upgrade the medical services being extended to citizens.


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