Kuwait mandatory health insurance presents uncertainty

Mandatory health insurance is required for all expatriates in Kuwait on a very basic tariff and enforced through residency requirements, i.e. in order to obtain a residency visa, expatriates must have in place the basic mandatory tariff to have residency and or work status.

Date published

24/05/2017

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Mandatory health insurance is required for all expatriates in Kuwait on a very basic tariff and enforced through residency requirements, i.e. in order to obtain a residency visa, expatriates must have in place the basic mandatory tariff to have residency and or work status.

Under the existing healthcare system, all residents, including expatriates, have access to Kuwait’s public healthcare system despite the requirement for mandatory health insurance.
 
In December 2016, the Ministry of Health approved a separate scheme to provide future mandated health insurance for expatriates introduced in two phases. The first in early 2017 and the second in 2019. Under the scheme expatriates working in the private sector would be excluded from access to public healthcare services and would be required to purchase specific mandated health insurance from the state national insurer, Kuwait Health Assurance Company (KHAC). This was to resolve the problem of overcrowding in hospitals and lack of beds for patients in the public system.
 
However, in January 2017 the government cancelled the arrangement with KHAC. As a result of this unplanned announcement, the Interior Ministry instructed directors of residency affairs to issue temporary residencies for those expatriates applying to renew their residencies.
 
Residents and health insurers are now waiting in anticipation as to what will happen next. It is our understanding that until this matter is resolved only short-term residencies are being offered. However, it is very important to note that for all residency applications, health insurance is required by law.