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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)
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.

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