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Saudi Arabia

Health insurance for visitors approved

JEDDAH: The Council of Cooperative Health Insurance in the Kingdom has endorsed a visitor health insurance system for those wishing to obtain medical insurance during their visit to the country, with treatment coverage of up to SR100,000.
A local publication reported that the visitor health insurance system will cover a number of medical expenses including medical examination, diagnosis, treatment, medications, hospital expenses, pregnancy and childbirth, emergency dental cases, premature infant cases, emergency dialysis and medical evacuation cases.
The coverage will also include injuries caused by traffic accidents, and the costs of handling or processing the bodies of the deceased.
The exemptions of the medical insurance coverage include non-urgent medical tests which can be postponed until the insured visitor returns home, as well as diseases that arise from the abuse of medicines and plastic surgery, venereal diseases, eyeglasses, hearing aids or electroacoustic devices and implants of organs.
The insured person is not entitled to cancel his or her pre-organized insurance document after entering the Kingdom, but can do so in cases of non-entry. In such circumstances, the value of the payment will be returned to the beneficiary.
The insured visitor is entitled to receive medical services within 60 minutes from the time of requesting the approval. Additionally, the insured person shall not use the document to cover the expenses of any treatment for a condition known to him prior to his planned visit to the Kingdom.
Speaking to a local publication, Khaldoun Barakat, head of the insurance committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the mechanisms to implement the project are still being studied by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency and insurance companies, in addition to the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance. He said that the number of beneficiaries may reach 8 million foreigners who enter the Kingdom with Umrah and Haj visas.
Sources familiar with the sector said that the payment of insurance fee will serve as a perquisite for all wishing to obtain required visas for visitation.
The project has been under study for 10 years and has faced many obstacles along the way which led to its delay more than once. Some of these obstacles have involved the ratio of expenses the insured must bear. Other reasons involved the weak medical services network, particularly in the terminal regions.
Hamad Al-Manie, a former health minister, exerted extensive efforts to enable the project to succeed. Another former Health Minister Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, revived the project and held a conference on the issue which was attended by experts in the medical insurance sector from many countries.

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