Qatar is undergoing healthcare changes, with a focus on mandatory health insurance and more Qatari-designated health centres.
Qatar’s cabinet approved the proposal put forth by the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) to adopt insurance benefit packages and premiums for visitors and tourists, in accordance with the provisions of Law No. 22 of 2021 regulating health care services within the country.
Mandatory health insurance
Draft resolution No. 22 of 2021 stipulates that private health insurance be mandatory for all non-Qatari workers in the private sector, was approved by the council of ministers.
According to the draft resolution, Qatari citizens will receive free healthcare services at government health facilities, whilst expats and visitors are required to obtain private health insurance should they want to access basic healthcare services.
As per the Government Communications Office’s statement, some categories that are included in the compulsory health insurance system are for non-Qataris working in public and private sectors; namely manual labourers, craftspeople, domestic workers and visitors.
The law states that employers and recruiters must pay the premium amount to cover the basic services of their registered employees or recruits. This includes emergency and accident treatments.
Employers and recruiters have the option to request extra services, which are permitted upon making an extra payment.
Accordingly, insurance firms must provide employers with health insurance cards in addition to customised treatment networks, including hospitals and clinics.
Employers are expected to notify the insurance company upon the termination of an employee’s contract.
If an employee or recruiter fails to transfer the employee’s sponsorship to a new company after the contract has ended, the insurance coverage may be prolonged until the policy or the legally allowed time of residency expires, based on whichever nears first.
Health insurance must be provided to the employee from the date of entry into the country or from the date of a worker’s sponsorship transfer under a new employer.
According to MOPH, making health insurance obligatory ensures that all residents and visitors have health insurance through a registered insurance company.
A rigorous approach is set in place to ensure the law’s implementation, with the first phase focusing on visitors.
Recent health updates in the country
In May, the health ministry released a new set of announcements regarding the usage of health facilities and insurance for the public.
Health authorities have revealed four designated centres exclusively for Qatari nationals.
The centres include Leabaib Health Center, Muaither Health Center, Al Thumama Health Center, and South Al Wakra Health Center. Additionally, another four health facilities that are currently undergoing construction will also be allocated for nationals, with their completion expected during the first quarter of 2023.
The centres include Al Mashaf Health Center, Al Sadd Health Center, Umm Saneem Health Center and the new Al Khor Health Center.
This brings the total of exclusively Qatari-designated health facilities to eight.