Kuwait Health Insurance
The complete guide!

How does the state health insurance system work?

Due to a decrease in oil revenues, and thus a decrease in the economy overall, the Kuwaiti government is targeting expats financially and some of the advantages that used to be in place for overseas workers have been removed altogether or scaled back. Access to the public healthcare system for visiting expats is one of the benefits which may no longer apply in some cases, and you should be aware that health insurance for expat workers is currently in the process of being further overhauled.

It is mandatory for expat workers in Kuwait to have health insurance of some form. You will not be permitted to have an entry visa for the country unless you have health insurance, which will probably need to be private.

At present, you can only access the public system if you have a civil ID card: this is only issued to those who have legal residence permits. If you are a visitor, you will either need to have comprehensive cover or will need to pay out of pocket.

However, the health insurance system is currently undergoing revision and the Kuwaiti government is planning to instate a government-run health insurance scheme for expats, available through the Health Insurance Hospitals Company (known as Dhaman). When this is in place, you will be able to register with this new one-stop provider.

Save On Health Insurance

Compare quotes from leading international health insurance providers

Who is eligible for state healthcare?

Only people with a legal residence permit are permitted to access public healthcare. If this applies to you, you should be able to use the state system. If you are on a visitor’s visa, you will not, and you must instead have private health insurance.

However, you should be aware that the Kuwaiti authorities are moving towards a ban on expats using public hospitals, with some very limited exceptions. It is not practical to put such a ban in place at the moment, since private hospitals are not yet sufficient to cope with the volume of expats in the country, and the Dhaman hospitals are not yet fully operational. However, if the situation for expats is unclear in your particular region, consult your local clinic or hospital.

How do you apply to join the state health insurance system?

If you are employed in Kuwait, your employer should sign you up with a health insurance scheme, and as noted above, the system is changing to a government-run semi-public form of health insurance.

What is covered by the state health insurance system?

The state system, overseen by the Ministry of Health, covers:

  • GP visits
  • emergency care
  • maternity care
  • nursing care
  • preventive treatment
  • pharmaceuticals
  • family medicine
  • specialist care

Kuwait’s five regions each have a main public hospital, in addition to a further main hospital, a number of specialist healthcare centres, and around 70 primary care clinics.

The first Dhaman centre opened in Hawally in 2019, and four more are in progress. It is partnered with the Mayo clinic in the US and its clinics will cover:

  • family medicine
  • paediatrics
  • preventive services
  • health education
  • consultation
  • acute and chronic diseases
  • dental services
  • digital x-ray
  • ultrasound
  • laboratory
  • pharmaceutical services

Are retirees covered by state medical insurance?

You will only be able to access state medical insurance if you have a residence permit.

Are students covered by state medical insurance?

If you are intending to study in Kuwait, you will need to take out private health insurance. Check with your educational provider to see if they have an agreement with a particular insurance company.

Will your family be covered by your insurance?

You will need to check with your employer to see if your current health insurance package covers your dependents. Your family should be able to access public healthcare if they have residence permits, but they will not be allowed to use the Kuwaiti healthcare system if they do not.

Under the new Dhaman scheme, the regulations as regards your dependents are currently unclear, but the authorities have indicated that the liability for your family being covered will rest with your specific employer.

Is dental treatment covered by state health insurance?

Basic dental treatment is covered under the national health insurance scheme. For more complex procedures and for cosmetic options, you will need to take out a private package with dental cover or pay out of pocket.

What are the contribution rates for state health insurance?

Kuwaiti public health insurance operates via an annual lump sum payment. This has recently increased substantially, and is likely to do so again: currently the premium for insurance cover under the new system is set at KWD130 (US$428) per year.

If you have to make out of pocket payments, you need to be aware that the rates are currently being increased: at present, a visit to a polyclinic costs in the region of KWD10 ($33). Intensive care costs around KWD30 ($100) per day; a private room in a hospital costs around KWD50 ($165.70) per day not including any surgeries, tests or x-rays.

Maternity charges for expatriate women registered in the health insurance system are also increasing. Non-Kuwaiti patients enrolled in the health insurance system will currently now pay a fee of KWD100 (US$328) for normal delivery — a 100% increase — and an increase in caesarean-section fees to KWD150 (US$492).

The Kuwaiti health authorities say that cost differentials between public and private healthcare under the new Dhaman system should not be too great: perhaps a dinar’s worth of difference, with laboratory, radiology, pharmacy and other basic tests being free. At present, however, the Hawally centre is operating on private sector prices.

Why buy private health insurance?

Given the current issues with public healthcare and public health insurance, expats may opt for private policies. If you do so, make sure that a private clinic or hospital is signed up with your provider.

Your employer may need to register you with the Dhaman system when this comes in, and it is advisable to keep an eye on the healthcare news in this regard to be updated on any changes.

Save On Health Insurance

Compare quotes from leading international health insurance providers

What is covered by private health insurance?

Private healthcare will cover all forms of primary and secondary care, in addition to any elective procedures such as cosmetic surgery or more advanced dental care.

How much does private health insurance cost?

As so many variables have an effect on the cost of international private medical insurance it becomes very difficult to give accurate estimates without knowing the full details of the coverage required. However, as a very rough guide, using a standard profile of a 40 year old British male with no deductibles, no co-insurance, a middle tier plan/product, all modules included and worldwide coverage excluding the US, a ballpark price of around £4,000/$5,000 might be expected.

Which companies offer private health insurance?

A number of international providers cover Kuwait, including:

  • Cigna
  • Foyer Global Health
  • GIRI – Gulf Insurance
  • Pacific Prime

Glossary of health insurance terms

Dhaman - the Health Insurance Hospitals Company

Share to...