Saudi Arabia: Health Care Options in the Kingdom

kingdom health care


Just the other day I was asked whether I had health care coverage while in the Kingdom as an expatriate married to a Saudi.   As I thought about the question, I decided it would make a good topic to write about here on the blog.

First of all, any Saudi national is entitled to free health care at Saudi government controlled hospitals.  However, there can be some exceptions and this post is recommended reading for more details.  If a foreign wife of a Saudi acquires Saudi citizenship then she, too, would receive the same health care benefits as a Saudi-born Saudi.  Without the Saudi citizenship, the foreign wife of a Saudi would require international health insurance that is accepted in Saudi Arabia and likely have to go to a private clinic or hospital for treatment.

The exception to this rule is the expat employees who work for a government controlled hospital.  In this case, health care at the hospital is included in the benefits package.  Since I worked at the National Guard Health Affairs I had extensive health care coverage which was a great benefit when I was diagnosed with my cancer.

Most expatriates, prior to arrival in the Kingdom, should have some kind of an international medical insurance policy that is recognized in Saudi Arabia.  But, expatriates would be limited to the private clinics and hospitals for their care.  That being said, there are very good private medical facilities in the Kingdom.  Health care in the Kingdom is good but there are distinctions, primarily cultural, in the approach of health care.

In addition, if a Saudi national requires specialized treatment that is not readily available in the Kingdom, he or she may be given the option to travel abroad for treatment and at the expense of the Saudi government.  The Saudi government would cover the travel expenses of the patient and a caregiver, medical costs and perhaps a small stipend to cover miscellaneous expenses.


2 Responses

  1. I am an expat living in Jizan. My husband is working here. I recently had to have minor surgery (gallbladder removal) and was extremely impressed by the level of service we received. We do have private insurance. Firstly, the diagnosis was very quick (3 days), much more so than it would have been in Canada. Secondly, while in Jeddah for the surgery my husband was able to stay with me in the hospital. In fact, we were told it was expected–a common practice in Saudi is to have the whole family stay at the hospital. My recovery is going well. Not once did I feel that I was getting second rate medical care. My experience has made our fellow expats feel better in that they know now what to expect if they need to use the medical care.

  2. Thanks for sharing your positive experience, Kim.

    On Sun, Dec 9, 2012 at 4:00 AM, American Bedu

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