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Bahrain – Health Insurance

Bahrain is a small island country located in the Persian Gulf. Known for its vibrant culture, friendly people, and thriving economy, it is a popular destination for expats. It is important to understand the healthcare system in the country, including health insurance. This article will provide information on whether health insurance is mandatory in Bahrain, how the state health insurance system works, and what it covers. It will also provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply to join the state health insurance system in Bahrain. Finally, it will highlight the advantages of international private medical insurance for expats living in Bahrain.

Health Insurance Requirements in Bahrain

Health insurance is mandatory for all residents of Bahrain. The government requires all residents to have health insurance, either through the state health insurance system or private medical insurance. Failure to have health insurance could lead to a fine or refusal of entry into the country.

State Health Insurance System in Bahrain

The state health insurance system in Bahrain is called the National Health Insurance (NHI). It is a universal healthcare system that provides coverage to all citizens and residents of Bahrain. NHI is funded through taxes and is free of charge for most medical services.

NHI covers a range of medical services, including primary care, specialist care, hospitalization, and emergency care. It also covers prescription medication, diagnostic tests, and medical equipment such as crutches and wheelchairs. Dental care is not covered by NHI, except for emergency dental care.

It is important to note that NHI does not cover everything. Some services, such as cosmetic surgery and some experimental treatments, are not covered by the system. In these cases, patients would need to pay for these services out of pocket or through private medical insurance.

Applying for State Health Insurance System in Bahrain

All residents of Bahrain are eligible for NHI. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply:


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  1. Obtain a resident permit: To apply for NHI, you need to have a valid resident permit in Bahrain. You can obtain this permit by applying through the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence.

  2. Register with NHI: Once you have your resident permit, you will need to register with NHI. You can do this by visiting a NHI office or by calling the NHI hotline.

  3. Choose a doctor: After registering with NHI, you will need to choose a primary care physician. You can choose any doctor who participates in the NHI system.

  4. Receive your NHI card: Once you have completed the registration process and chosen a doctor, you will receive your NHI card. This card will be used to access healthcare services in Bahrain.

Advantages of Private Medical Insurance in Bahrain

While NHI provides comprehensive coverage for most medical services, some expats may choose to have international private medical insurance for additional coverage and benefits. Here are some advantages of having private medical insurance:

  1. Greater flexibility: Private medical insurance provides greater flexibility in terms of choosing healthcare providers and treatment options.

  2. Additional services: Private medical insurance often covers additional services that may not be covered by NHI, such as alternative therapies and mental health services.

  3. Coverage outside of Bahrain: Private medical insurance also provides coverage outside of Bahrain, which can be useful for expats who travel frequently or have family members living in other countries.

  4. Shorter waiting times: Private medical insurance may also offer shorter waiting times for certain procedures or appointments.

  5. English-speaking doctors: For expats who may not speak the local language, private medical insurance can provide access to English-speaking doctors and healthcare providers.

It is important to note that private medical insurance can be costly, and the level of coverage and benefits can vary widely depending on the plan. It is crucial to research and compare plans thoroughly before choosing one.

In conclusion, health insurance is mandatory for all residents of Bahrain, either through the state health insurance system or private medical insurance. The state health insurance system, NHI, provides comprehensive coverage for most medical services. Expats living in Bahrain may also choose to have international private medical insurance for additional coverage and benefits. Understanding the healthcare system in Bahrain and having the appropriate health insurance coverage is essential for a comfortable and secure life in this beautiful country.


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