Saudi health facilities force insured patients to pay with cash

Medical workers leave the hospital's emergency department, in this April 27, 2014 file photo, in the Saudi capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 25 November 2017

Saudi health facilities force insured patients to pay with cash

RIYADH: The Council of Cooperative Health Insurance has said that health facilities do not have the right to demand payments from insured people, and that the punishment for such violation is a suspension.
The assurance came after repeated complaints that some health centers and hospitals refuse to register insurance claims and force patients to pay cash. The Health Insurance Council said that this procedure is illegal.
Yasser bin Ali Almuaarek, spokesman for the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance, said this constituted a violation of the council’s regulations and exposed the offender to punishments including suspension of the facility, according to an investigation published by Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper.
Almuaarek said that health facilities should adhere to the requirements of the accreditation of service providers, and should provide services promptly and observe the time limits for sending approvals to the insurance companies, as stated in article 90 of the executive regulations.
Almuaarek said that the number of insured people as per Nov. 22 was 11,992,727.

High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

Updated 18 June 2019

High-level investment forum aims to further boost business between Saudi Arabia and Japan

  • Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners

TOKYO: More than 300 government, investment and industry leaders on Monday took part in a high-level gathering aimed at further boosting business opportunities between Saudi Arabia and Japan.

The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) welcomed key figures from the public and private sectors to the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum, held in Tokyo.

Hosted in partnership with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), the conference focused on the creation of investment opportunities in strategic sectors of the Kingdom. Delegates also discussed key reforms currently underway to enable easier market access for foreign companies.

Speaking at the event, Saudi Economy and Planning Minister Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, said: “Today’s forum is a testimony to the success of the strategic direction set by the Saudi-Japanese Vision 2030 two years ago, which seeks to drive private-sector involvement, both by partnering with public-sector entities.”

SAGIA Gov. Ibrahim Al-Omar said: “At SAGIA, we have been working on creating a more attractive and favorable business environment in Saudi Arabia, which is making it easier for foreign companies to access opportunities in the Kingdom.”

Japan is one of Saudi Arabia’s most important economic partners. It is the Kingdom’s second-largest source of foreign capital and third-biggest trading partner, with total trade exceeding $39 billion.

JETRO president, Yasushi Akahoshi, said: “Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 has made great progress since it was first announced. Under this strategic initiative, the number of cooperative projects between our two countries has nearly doubled, from 31 to 61, and represents a diverse range of sectors and stakeholders.”

Since 2016, the Saudi government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.

As a result, the Kingdom has climbed international competitiveness and ease-of-doing-business rankings, with foreign direct investment inflows increasing by 127 percent in 2018 and the number of new companies entering Saudi Arabia rising by 70 percent on a year-on-year basis in the first quarter of 2019.