RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Fahad Al-Jalajel revealed on Sunday the nation’s plans to roll out comprehensive state-funded insurance coverage for all citizens by mid-2024.

Al-Jalajel outlined the key features of the National Insurance program, emphasizing its unique aspects, such as being state-funded with no need for annual renewal, ensuring coverage for a lifetime.

Notably, the National Insurance will not have a specific ceiling and will eliminate the requirement for prior approvals, streamlining the process for beneficiaries.

Addressing a global audience at the Health Forum held in Riyadh, the minister projected a five-fold growth in private insurance in the coming years.

This surge is expected to be driven by factors such as population growth, holders of premium residency, and an increasing number of tourists.

The transformation in the health sector, according to Al-Jalajel, aims to accommodate a larger population while affording the private sector greater space and empowerment.

He anticipates the private sector’s share in providing health services to grow from 20% to 50%.

Furthermore, the minister unveiled lucrative investment opportunities in the health sector, estimating a total of SR330 billion until 2030.

By 2040, all health clusters will transfer from the Health Ministry to the Health Holding Company, indicating a significant restructuring in the sector.

“We are in the ideal place for investing in health,” declared Al-Jalajel, encouraging stakeholders to seize the promising opportunities within the health sector.

He predicted a substantial increase in the health sector’s contribution to the GDP, reaching SR318 billion in 2030, with the private sector contributing SR145 billion.

Al-Jalajel stressed the pivotal role of integration and partnership with the private sector in the upcoming stages of healthcare development.

He highlighted that the average coverage rate of health services in the regions has increased to approximately 94%.

In addition to addressing healthcare advancements, the minister touched on road safety, revealing a notable decrease in the rate of road accidents from 28 people per 100,000 population in 2016 to 14 people per 100,000 population today.

He also highlighted progress in reducing premature deaths due to chronic diseases, with the rate dropping from 600 per 100,000 population to close to 500.

During the forum, Al-Jalajel announced the launch of the Saudi Center for Proton Therapy, the first of its kind in the region.

This center, expected to receive its first patient by the end of 2023 at King Fahad Medical City in the second cluster, not only aims to provide advanced care but also to significantly boost medical tourism in Saudi Arabia.

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