If you’re planning to enroll in the public healthcare system in Saudi Arabia, this article covers the requirements for foreigners to be able enroll in the public healthcare system, the steps involved and more.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia offers a comprehensive public healthcare system, known as the Ministry of Health (MOH). The MOH provides a wide range of healthcare services, from primary care to specialized treatments, and is available to all Saudi citizens and residents. The quality of healthcare in Saudi Arabia is generally high, with the country investing heavily in modern medical technology and training for healthcare professionals. However, the system can be crowded and waiting times can be long, particularly for non-emergency treatments.
Healthcare is not mandatory for all residents, but it is highly recommended. Most people in Saudi Arabia, including expatriates, use the public healthcare system, although many also have private health insurance to supplement the public system. The cost of healthcare is generally low, with many services provided free of charge or at a nominal fee. However, some treatments and medications may not be covered by the public system and must be paid for out-of-pocket or through private insurance.
Eligibility for Public Healthcare
Foreigners are eligible to enroll in the public healthcare system in Saudi Arabia if they are legally residing in the country. This includes expatriates who are working in Saudi Arabia and their dependents. However, it’s important to note that while public healthcare is available to all legal residents, the government has been encouraging expatriates to take out private health insurance to ease the burden on the public system.
The process for enrolling in the public healthcare system in Saudi Arabia is relatively straightforward. Here are the steps:
- Obtain a residence permit (Iqama): This is the first and most important step. You cannot enroll in the public healthcare system without a valid Iqama. Your employer should assist you with this process.
- Register with the Ministry of Health: Once you have your Iqama, you can register with the MOH. This can be done online or at a local MOH office. You will need to provide your Iqama number and other personal details.
- Get a health card: After registering with the MOH, you will be issued a health card. This card allows you to access healthcare services at MOH facilities. You should carry this card with you at all times.
It’s important to note that while the public healthcare system is comprehensive, it may not cover all treatments and medications. Therefore, many expatriates choose to take out private health insurance to supplement the public system. This can provide access to private hospitals and clinics, which may offer shorter waiting times and a wider range of treatments.
Overall, the public healthcare system in Saudi Arabia provides a solid foundation of care for residents. However, understanding the system and navigating the enrollment process can be challenging for newcomers. Therefore, it’s recommended to seek assistance from your employer or a local expert to ensure you are fully covered.