Annual health insurance costs for expats in Kuwait are set to rise from $165 USD to $430 in 2017. These changes arise from new healthcare legislation implemented by the Kuwaiti government that is set to segregate expat healthcare from the national service and prohibit treatment for expats in the state hospitals. These changes to state law have come about as a means to resolve the problem of overcrowded hospitals and lack of beds for patients. As the situation currently stands, there are only roughly three beds per every 10,000 citizens, expats and non-expats.
The Kuwaiti government has decided to resolve these issues by building three new hospitals that will be designated for expat use only. Previously expats could benefit from using the state hospitals and treatment centres, which are heavily subsidised by the government, and therefore lowered insurance costs. Due to the changes, the Kuwait Health Insurance Company (KHAC), which oversees all health insurance coverage for expats, has outlined that insurance costs will rise to around KD 130 per year. To put that in perspective, an average monthly salary for an expat in Kuwait is KD 255.
At present, all expats in Kuwait are required by law to purchase health insurance in order to renew their residencies. When the new changes take effect, the Health Insurance Hospitals Company, a new public shareholding firm that was established in accordance with the decision, will provide all medical care for expats channelled through the three new hospitals. Although there has been previous debate as to whether expats should be allowed to take out their own health insurance with private companies, this may seem futile as private health insurance premiums are likely to prove even more expensive than going through the Kuwaiti system, with policies currently starting at KD 140.
The new independent healthcare initiative for expats will be introduced in two phases, starting with the opening of expat-only healthcare centres in 2017 and will come fully into effect when the new hospitals open in 2019 in the Jahra, Ahmadi and Farwaniya provinces. Expats have been assured that the amount of money spent on their services is not due to change, only the amount which will be subsidized by the government.