Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister, Fahad Al-Jalajel, has revealed the kingdom’s plans to introduce a state-funded insurance programme that will provide comprehensive coverage for all citizens by 2026.
Speaking at the Health Forum in Riyadh, Al-Jalajel highlighted the key features of the National Insurance programme, emphasising its unique aspects, as per a report by Saudi Gazette.
The National Insurance programme stands out for being state-funded and does not require annual renewal, ensuring coverage for a lifetime.
Unlike many insurance plans, this initiative will not have a specific ceiling and will eliminate the need for prior approvals, making it more accessible and efficient for beneficiaries.
Addressing a global audience, Al-Jalajel projected a significant increase in private health insurance in the coming years.
He attributed this growth to factors such as population expansion, holders of premium residency, and a rising number of tourists visiting Saudi Arabia.
The transformation in the healthcare sector, according to Al-Jalajel, is designed to accommodate the growing population while empowering the private sector.
He expects that the private sector’s role in providing health services will increase from 20 percent to 50 percent.
Moreover, Al-Jalajel revealed substantial investment opportunities in the health sector, estimating a total investment of SAR330 billion by 2030.
Starting from 2024, all health clusters will transition from the Health Ministry to the Health Holding Company, indicating a significant restructuring in the sector.
“We are in the ideal place for investing in health,” declared Al-Jalajel, encouraging stakeholders to seize the promising opportunities in the health sector.
He also predicted a substantial increase in the health sector’s contribution to the GDP, reaching SAR318 billion by 2030, with the private sector contributing SAR145 billion.
Al-Jalajel emphasised the pivotal role of integration and partnership with the private sector in the future stages of healthcare development.
He highlighted that the average coverage rate of health services in the regions has increased to approximately 94 percent.
In addition to healthcare advancements, the minister touched on road safety, revealing a notable decrease in the rate of road accidents from 28 people per 100,000 population in 2016 to 14 people per 100,000 population today.
He also highlighted progress in reducing premature deaths due to chronic diseases, with the rate dropping from 600 per 100,000 population to close to 500.
During the forum, Al-Jalajel announced the launch of the Saudi Center for Proton Therapy, the first of its kind in the region.
This centre, expected to receive its first patient by the end of 2023 at King Fahad Medical City in the second cluster, not only aims to provide advanced care but also to significantly boost medical tourism in Saudi Arabia.