The landscape of healthcare coverage in the Middle East has been changing rapidly in the past few years. Since 2013 many Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries have passed legislation and amendments to laws that expand healthcare coverage, and these changes have been coming into effect in phases.


  • A substantial portion of respondents do not understand the legislative changes taking place and the impact of those changes on their organisations. There is a need for further clarity around how implementation will take place so that employers can better understand the impact and timing of the changes.
  • Most respondents indicate that their firms believe there is a strong relationship between the provision of healthcare benefits and engagement, productivity and absenteeism.
  • Half of responding organisations indicate that they currently do not have a strategy to encourage healthy behaviours. This drops to 28%, however, when looking at firms’ plans for the next three years, indicating that organisations are realising the value of a healthy workforce and are starting to understand the role of health and wellness strategies in their employee value proposition.
  • Building a healthy workplace culture is the primary focus of organisations that have a strategy to encourage healthy behaviours, with supporting tactics in place rewarding desired behaviours or health status.
  • Programmes that focus on lifestyle change and health management are an area of growth. Wellness screening programmes are another area expected to grow in the next three years. However, there are still a substantial number of respondents that indicate no programmes are in place or being considered.
  • The top lifestyle risk factors of the Middle Eastern workforce are stress, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and weight & nutrition problems.
  • The top stress factors are the erosion of work/life balance, especially with “technologies that expand availability after working hours”; unclear or conflicting job expectations and inadequate staffing.
  • There is a gap between “what should be” and “what is” when it comes to employee accountability for improving, managing and maintaining their health; and manager accountability for the overall health and productivity of the workforce. This gap may be due to the lack of an overarching health and productivity strategy.


The Towers Watson Middle East Healthcare Survey 2014/15 was fielded towards the end of 2014 in 10 markets in the Middle East; including United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain and Algeria. It includes responses from 73 participating organisations. The participants represent a wide range of industries and geographic regions.


The Middle East Healthcare Survey Report can help you better understand how the recent changes in healthcare legislation can be expected to affect employers and their health related benefits trends in the region. By purchasing the survey report you will have access to information collected by global leaders in Global Health and Group Benefits.

Fee: $500 US

To order your report please contact Yasmina Amara.