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The healthcare system in Kuwait

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There are many options for healthcare in Kuwait. The government provides healthcare free of charge to Kuwaiti nationals. There are five government hospitals and many additional clinics. Expats can utilise these services at the cost of 50 KWD per year. Other services, such as imaging, will result in extra expenses.

Kuwait is planning to implement expat-only hospitals and clinics in the future, which will be available to expats with current insurance coverage. The proposed completion of this project is 2018, with an increase to the 50 KWD yearly expat healthcare charge planned for 2020.

Health insurance in Kuwait

Many companies provide health insurance as a part of the salary package. This insurance includes access to the government healthcare as well as private health insurance, which can be used in the private hospitals and practices, which are numerous. There are various healthcare insurance companies in Kuwait. If included in your salary package, your employer will provide you with your card and information on which clinics and hospitals are included in your coverage. If insurance is not a part of your package, your employer can provide you with a list of the companies available for you to choose from. Many packages also extend coverage to include the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) area.

Standard of healthcare

Healthcare in Kuwait is regarded as being of a high standard. Most providers in Kuwait are Western-trained, and many physicians are expats themselves who have trained in their home countries. Unlike the United States, most referrals from a primary care doctor are not necessary here. Primary care physicians and family doctors are rare in Kuwait, but some are available. Most private providers are specialised and you can freely make appointments with a specialist in your desired area as long as they are within your insurance plan.

Medications and prescriptions

Pharmacies are readily available in Kuwait in every area. Medication prices are regulated by the Ministry of Health so prices should not vary between pharmacies. Most over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and cold medicine, can only be purchased from a pharmacy. You cannot buy them from the grocery or convenience stores. Most medications available in Western countries are available in Kuwait. However, some are not — any medication derived from porcine sources cannot be brought into Kuwait as all porcine products are illegal. Sleeping pills and certain narcotics are also banned in Kuwait. If needed, these could be purchased outside of Kuwait and brought in with a proper prescription.

Additionally, some drugs are only available from the government hospitals. If your private care physician recommends a drug only available from the government, they will provide you with the necessary paperwork and referral. You will take this to the state hospital, and the information will be reviewed by a physician there. If they agree with the private care physician's assessment, they will issue the medication. You will have to return to the hospital for all necessary refills. Vaccinations, particularly travel vaccinations, are only available within the government health system. Not all vaccinations available in Western countries are readily available in Kuwait due to difficulty maintaining appropriate temperatures during shipment.

 Useful Links:

Ministry of Health Government Insurance

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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