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Saudi Arabia

Health card to be made mandatory for expats’ families

The Health Ministry and the Directorate of Passports plan to make it mandatory for expatriates to obtain health insurance coverage for their dependents.
Insurance subscriptions will be necessary to obtain or renew the iqamas of the family members, said a source.
“Preparations for this scheme are under way in collaboration with the Directorate of Passports. It will be in place soon,” said the source.
Ahmed Al-Dammas, director of Information Technology at the Cooperative Health Insurance Council, said: “We have started registering dependent family members in the system. The insurance is being made obligatory for them.”
Health Minister Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, meanwhile, signed a five-year contract in Riyadh to share the Health Insurance Council’s data with Al-Elm Company for Information Security.
The deal aims to provide data on workers’ health insurance policies, which are needed at the time of issue and renewal of residence permits.
“The adoption of the latest technology in the council’s operations will simplify its tasks,” said Al-Rabeeah, who is also the president of the council.
The Elm Company will transfer the data on health insurance to the council through an online link between it and the council, according to the contract. The availability of full data will help the council serve the workers in the private sector better besides prompting the insurance sector to elevate its performance level.
Secretary General of the council Dr. Abdullah Al-Shareef, said the company would supply the council the technical requirements including username and password when the service is established. The service is scheduled to start four months after signing the contract.
Al-Shareef also urged health insurance companies to transfer all the documents and data issued by them to the council directly using the online facility for exchange of data between the council and the insurance companies.
He said this is the second contract signed by the council with the company for insurance data transfer.
After the first contract was signed in 2006, 25 million data transfer operations were conducted, although 3 million operations were rejected because of errors in data. Errors included a mismatch between the iqama number of the worker and the details in his sponsor’s documents.
He added that 2.5 million operations were canceled either because insured workers with insurance left the Kingdom, changed sponsors or changed their insurance company. Besides enabling effective supervision of the sector, the contract will help reduce disputes between an insurance company and employer of a worker to protect the right of a worker, he said.

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