Saudi Gazette – Two hundred specialized government hospitals will provide medical insurance services to Saudis and expatriates in three stages next year as the Ministry of Health has signed an agreement with the Medical Insurance Council (MIC) here recently for the purpose.

“The participation of 200 public hospitals in the program will strengthen medical insurance services all over the Kingdom, including remote areas where private hospitals are not available,” said an informed source at the ministry who requested anonymity.

Deputy Minister Hamad Bin Mohammed Al-Dhuwailie signed the agreement on behalf of the Health Ministry while Mohammed Bin Sulaiman Al-Hussain, secretary general of MIC, signed for his organization, said a report carried by Al-Madinah Arabic daily.

Eqab Bin Manahi Bin Aboud, director of the department for self-made resources at the ministry, said under the agreement the ministry would keep 200 specialized hospitals ready for extending the service in stages, in coordination with MIC.

He said government hospitals sanctioned by MIC would start signing deals with insurance companies to provide service to their clients including expatriates working for companies and establishments.

“Our hospitals will also serve expats who are under the sponsorship of Saudi individuals including barbers and plumbers as well as Saudis working for private companies,” Aboud said.

He said the ministry would not receive first-aid cases at medical cities and specialized hospitals. The Health Ministry is the largest provider of medical services in the Kingdom.

Aboud said the ministry has been providing health services to expats by charging fees from patients directly in the past years.

“With the signing of the new deal with MIC, the ministry will collect the fees from insurance companies for services covered by insurance policies,” he pointed out.

The Council of Ministers recently decided to impose insurance on foreigners coming on visit visas for first-aid services, Aboud said, adding that it requires setting up of new health facilities.

The MIC currently provides medical insurance coverage to 10.97 million clients with Saudis accounting for 30% or 3.1 million and expatriates 70% or 7.8 million. Twenty six insurance companies, seven claims management companies and 2,547 hospitals and clinics are involved in the service.

The council will provide technical advice to the ministry to develop its hospitals and train its administrative and technical staff to implement the insurance service scheme.

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