Financing healthcare in Gulf Cooperation Council countries: a focus on Saudi Arabia
Article first published online: 28 AUG 2013
© 2013 The Authors. International Journal of Health Planning and Management published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.
The International Journal of Health Planning and Management
Volume 29, Issue 1, pages e64–e82, January/March 2014
How to Cite
Alkhamis, A., Hassan, A. and Cosgrove, P. (2014), Financing healthcare in Gulf Cooperation Council countries: a focus on Saudi Arabia. Int. J. Health Plann. Mgmt., 29: e64–e82. doi: 10.1002/hpm.2213
- Issue published online: 4 MAR 2014
- Article first published online: 28 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 10 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 5 DEC 2012
- financing healthcare;
- health insurance;
- Saudi health financing;
This paper presents an analysis of the main characteristics of the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) health financing systems and draws similarities and differences between GCC countries and other high-income and low-income countries, in order to provide recommendations for healthcare policy makers. The paper also illustrates some financial implications of the recent implementation of the Compulsory Employment-based Health Insurance (CEBHI) system in Saudi Arabia.
Employing a descriptive framework for the country-level analysis of healthcare financing arrangements, we compared expenditure data on healthcare from GCC and other developing and developed countries, mostly using secondary data from the World Health Organization health expenditure database. The analysis was supported by a review of related literature.
There are three significant characteristics affecting healthcare financing in GCC countries: (i) large expatriate populations relative to the national population, which leads GCC countries to use different strategies to control expatriate healthcare expenditure; (ii) substantial government revenue, with correspondingly high government expenditure on healthcare services in GCC countries; and (iii) underdeveloped healthcare systems, with some GCC countries' healthcare indicators falling below those of upper-middle-income countries.
Reforming the mode of health financing is vital to achieving equitable and efficient healthcare services. Such reform could assist GCC countries in improving their healthcare indicators and bring about a reduction in out-of-pocket payments for healthcare. © 2013 The Authors. International Journal of Health Planning and Management published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.