TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE

Saudi Arabia 2017 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Mohammed Al Hussein, Secretary General of the Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI), on the transformative change afoot and its progress on a unified policy.

Mohammed Al Hussein
BIOGRAPHY
Mohammed Al Hussein holds a bachelor's in economics from King Saud University and a diploma in social health insurance from the World Labor Organization (WLO) in Turin. He has been a fellow of the American Academy of Financial Management (FAAFM) since 2004, an economist certified by the American Academy of Financial Management (CCE) since 2005, a financial professional specialist with the American Academy of Financial Management (MFP) since 2005, an elected member of the Department of Scientific Saudi Society for Quality Performance and Risk Management in 2010, a member of the Saudi Economic Association since 1990, and a member of the Saudi Management Association since 2003.

Has there been a change in opinions in Saudi Arabia that the country possesses all the assets it needs and now is the time for utilization?

In Saudi Arabia, we have scores of resources. What we are trying to do now is to utilize these resources in the most efficient, economic, and beneficial way. This is key. We can no longer go ahead without planning and thinking strategically about every step of the way. The 2030 Vision has opened a broad horizon and reshaped how we do business. I am convinced that those who cannot cope with this new era should step aside. People are in fact resigning if they are unable do what is required. There has been a change in the way of thinking, be it in ministries, government agencies, or the private sector. We are also optimistic; regardless of the situation today, we are on the right path.

How is the unified policy you debuted last year progressing?

We implemented the unified policy in phases and are now finalizing the fourth phase. The unified policy has been beneficial for the market and has solved most issues with fake insurance policies. We developed electronic solutions and made agreements with the Ministry of Interior to create a data center containing all the information of each insured person to verify that the information is 100% valid. We have also resolved the issue of Saudis working in the private sector by ensuring that they are all included in the mandated health insurance scheme, which will also be done electronically. In 2017, we expect around 1.5-2 million Saudis to be enrolled in health insurance schemes. We also regulated a minimum list of health providers in each city. This year we will also launch our largest product, the Saudi Health Insurance Policy (SHIB). Our goal on this is billing with quality, not just a billing with service. We are working to create a common platform that can be utilized by different agencies and organizations to unify all the quality standards, the platform standards, the electronic data centers, and the rest. This will help CCHI, as well as the other stakeholders and the insurers as well.

Will the private sector play a bigger role in health insurance?

Certainly. We cover almost 38% of the population under CCHI, Saudis and non-Saudis, all through private employment. With our cooperation, before 2020 there will be changes and growth in the private sector. The majority of public hospitals will become corporatized. The demand is there and there is a great deal to do for all sides: health insurance companies, the public, and the private sector. Our goal with CCHI is to no longer achieve anything without KPIs. KPIs are now a keystone in all parts of the health sector. We are creating KPIs for each employee, each section, and each department, for the CCHI, for the government, and for companies. We also plan to publish an evaluation that unites both us and the customer. This will ensure we are at the top of our game.

How have the stringent goals of the NTP influenced your operations?

We are planning for a 100% digital transformation for the CCHI and the sector as a whole. We will cover the provider side. We seek strong health insurance companies with strong regulations and are also making it about health, not just medical. We need to have a healthy population, not just adequate hospitals to treat the ill. We are also monitoring our transparency in terms of governance. By 2018/19, we will have a fund for those who exceed the maximum allowance. Our policy covers up to SAR500,000, and the fund will pay for those who exceed that. We are also proposing to amend and update our bylaws by 2018—we may even change the law itself. We have collected feedback from companies and are already drafting a proposal and will bring it to the Royal Cabinet.