Kuwait Medical Insurance
The State of Kuwait sits at the top of the Persian Gulf coast, surrounded by powerful neighbors. It is a small country, just 17,818 km² in size, bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south, Iraq to the west and the north, and Iran northeast. Kuwait’s economy has been dominated by the oil industry since the discovery of oil fields in the 1930’s. This allowed Kuwait to build a thriving economy until the Gulf War with Iraq in 1990. Iraqi forces were driven out by United States led-forces, but the retreating Iraqi forces were able to set almost 770 oil wells ablaze. This created an economical and environmental catastrophe that took the country close to 3 years to recover from. In 2010 Kuwait’s population had increased to 2,789,132, with a majority of the Kuwaiti’s living in the coastal cities.
Kuwait’s public health care system is run through the Ministry of Health (MoH). As one of the largest ministries in Kuwait, The Ministry of Health has been established since 1936. As of 2011, the Kuwaiti MoH claims to have the best healthcare network in the Gulf region. The MoH goals are to provide high levels of medical care through government clinics and hospitals free of charge to the Kuwaiti people. The public healthcare system is comprised of an intricate network of primary, secondary and specialized health centres. Primary healthcare centers offer medical services including general practitioners, maternity care, dentistry, preventive medical care, nursing care, family medicine and pharmaceuticals. As of 2010 Kuwait had 72 primary health facilities throughout the country. Secondary healthcare is provided through 6 major hospitals: Amiri, Sabah, Adan, Mubarak Al-kabeer, Farwaniya, and Jahra hospital. Finally Kuwait has several specialized medical facilities built to care for specific health problems a person might have. Some of these specialized hospitals include the Obstetrics Hospital, Ibn Sina Hospital for neurosurgery, Razi Hospital for burns, and the Kuwait Cancer Control Center for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The standard of care provided by Kuwaiti hospitals is considered to be on par with western medical facilities in the United States and Western Europe. With Kuwait’s highly developed health care system and small population, medical waiting lists are almost non-existent and everyone usually receives treated within a couple days. A majority of the medical staff within hospitals and clinics, including private hospitals, are foreign, although there are some local doctors and nurses within public facilities. Kuwaiti public healthcare is financed by revenue from oil and provides a number of free medical services for Kuwaiti nationals and gives the rest at a subsidized cost. This allows public clinics and hospitals to provide medical care at a low cost to residents of Kuwait. For expatriates planning to work within Kuwait the public health coverage will help subsidize medical costs, and may offer medical services for free in cases of emergency. Kuwait has begun to encourage employers to offer employees private medical insurance. Private facilities are available in Kuwait and operate with high standards but the costs can be more expensive than public facilities. Some private hospitals do not accept local health insurance as a means of payment. Travelers and Expatriates are advised to purchase travel insurance or international health insurance to make sure they are covered for all eventualities, including medical repatriation to their home countries in case of serious emergencies.
Kuwaits success within the health industry over the past 15 years has allowed it to eradicate many communicable diseases from within its borders. Major health problems within the country now mainly consist of non-communicable diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. The hot and dry climate presents several health problems, especially to visitors, such as skin irritation, sunburn, and sunstroke. Expatriates have also experienced respiratory problems due to the concentrations of sand and dust in the air.
Kuwait being a Middle Eastern Muslim country has some unique cultural laws, customs and traditions that visitors and expatriates must be aware of and respected. As an Expatriate in a foreign country it is natural to want to take pictures of your surroundings, but refrain from taking pictures of any government buildings, military and industrial sites, in particular oil fields, as it is strictly forbidden. Importation of any narcotics, alcohol, pork products or obscene material is forbidden and can lead to imprisonment. Obscene material would include things like pornography and sexually revealing movies. Customs have been known to check personal hard drives for this kind of material. Co-habiting with someone of the opposite sex while being unmarried is illegal. When in public it is important to observe a generally modest behavior and dress, especially for women. Wearing any kind of revealing or tight clothing can bring unwelcome attention, particularly in downtown city areas.
There are still some remnants that can be seen from the Gulf war in Kuwait, especially in rural areas outside of the cities. Landmines and other hazardous ordinances are still present in areas around Kuwait. Off-road driving is not recommended, and can be potentially fatal. If you were to travel off road it is important to exercise a great deal of care. Even officially cleared areas may have some unexploded ordnance.
Terrorists have continued to make threats against areas within the Gulf region. In Kuwait there is a general threat from terrorist attack. High priority targets have been mainly Western interests such as residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests. The last terrorist incident was thwarted in August 2009, when a terrorist cell was located, arrested and shut down by Kuwaiti security forces.
Pacific Prime can offer a number of medical insurance policies, with optional benefit packages including outpatient, inpatient, maternity, dental, specialist consultations and many more. If you are interested in finding out more information about Kuwait, or to receive a free Health Insurance Quote, feel free to contact one of our dedicated advisers today