Saudi Arabia said to mull mandatory health insurance for pilgrims

2014 decision had exempted pilgrims, democrats and others new medical insurance scheme
More than 1.8 million faithful from around the world have been attending the annual pilgrimage which officially ends on September 15. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Thu 27 Oct 2016 01:52 PM

Pilgrims to Saudi Arabia may be forced to pay for medical insurance despite earlier reports, it was revealed on Wednesday.

The kingdom’s Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) is exploring the possibility of including Haj and Umrah pilgrims in the national insurance scheme, Saudi Gazette said.

It quoted CCHI secretary-general Muhammad Al Husain as saying that domestic workers may also be required to have health insurance, covered by their sponsors.

Under to a 2014 decision by the Council of Ministers, pilgrims, diplomats, guests of state, representatives of international organisations and visitors to foreign missions are all exempted from mandatory health insurance, so Al Husain’s comments come as a surprise.

According to the newspaper, most visitors to Saudi Arabia will be asked to select a health insurance policy of their choice, provided by any of seven licensed insurance companies, when applying for a visa.

The kingdom began rolling out mandatory health insurance earlier this year.

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Last Updated: Thu 26 Jan 2017 01:27 PM GST

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