All residents and visitors to Qatar will be required to have health insurance before they are able to receive even basic healthcare services.
A draft law has gone through its first formal processes and has now been referred to the country’s Shura Council, the Gulf state’s legislative body.
The draft law aims to provide an “integrated, high-quality, efficient and sustainable health system, through:
– Establishing the necessary policies, plans, procedures, systems and standards to provide healthcare services in governmental and private health facilities.
– Determine [sic] the rights and duties of patients that must be taken into account when receiving health care services.
– Providing healthcare services to citizens in government health facilities without charge.
– All residents and visitors to the country must obtain health insurance to receive basic healthcare services.”
More than half of all residents in Qatar – one of the world’s richest countries by GDP per capita – are either residents or visitors to the state.
QATAR: Country facts and how the current healthcare system works
Citizenship by birth: no
Citizenship by descent only: the father must be a citizen of Qatar
Dual citizenship recognized: no
Residency requirement for naturalization: 20 years; 15 years if an Arab national
Real GDP per capita: US$90,044 (2019 est; sixth highest in the world)
Public Healthcare in Qatar
Compared to public healthcare systems in other parts of the world, Qatar has benefited from a huge state investment over the last 20 years, by the Qatari government. The county’s public hospitals and clinics are well equipped with state-of-the-art technology and facilities. The medical staff employed are highly efficient and specialized. The public health service provides a free or highly subsidized healthcare for the population. All native Qataris and residents receive free treatment. However, expatriates generally pay a small out-of-pocket fee or are covered by a health card.
What is the health card for in Qatar?
The health card gives access to public hospitals and clinics run by the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). The HMC clinics and hospitals offer free vaccinations for children, smoking cessation programs, diet clinics, support for families who have children with special needs, treatments, care, and much more — the list is extensive.
The universal benefits of having a health card in Qatar
- HMC clinics and hospitals offer advanced medical equipment and highly qualified staff to those that present the health card.
- All citizens and residents have the right to equal access to health services regardless of residency or nationality, when in possession of the health card.
- Health cardholders may receive prescriptions from government-run pharmacies at subsidized rates.
- Consultations or non-emergency treatments may cost somewhat extra but is reasonably subsidized for those who have a valid health card.
How to apply for a health card in Qatar?
Applying for a health card is reasonably straight-forward for expatriates. Simply, the most recommended channel is to obtain a health card through any HMC clinic or primary health care center. The application procedure is reasonably simple. Expats will need to complete a form and provide the following supplementary documents:
- Residence visa
- Passport-sized photos
It is recommended to check the official guidelines and fee charges for the health card to ensure the application process occurs smoothly.
Private healthcare in Qatar
Private healthcare in Qatar is a rapidly growing sector, and is driven by demand for quicker medical services and healthcare treatment as the population continues to grow. Private healthcare provides more treatment options, particularly for the specialized procedures as well as greater freedom in choosing who to be treated by. Although public services are highly praised for being efficient and employing excellent medical staff, private hospitals usually excel in the area of faster treatments.
Source: Pacific Prime