Did you know that almost 1.7 million expatriates live in Qatar? That is almost 75% of Qatar’s total population. Qatar is a melting pot of diverse cultures, with people from more than 100 countries living in the country.
The oil and natural gas industry accounts for approximately 70% of Qatar’s revenue. Expats from different parts of the world come to Qatar for employment in several industries like crude oil production, fertilizers, ammonia, cement, shipping, and tourism.
Here’s some valuable insight into Qatar’s healthcare system. Make sure to purchase expatriate health insurance for you and your family during your stay in Qatar.
An Overview of Qatar’s Health System
According to London’s Legatum Institute, Qatar’s health system has been ranked first in the Middle East and the fifth-best worldwide. The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) is a non-profit organization responsible for managing health services in Qatar.
Health insurance in Qatar is voluntary. Qatar residents are not required to have insurance plans. However, health services in Qatar are quite expensive, and most Qatar residents have either private or public health insurance.
Public healthcare services in Qatar are provided by the following two organizations:
- The Primary Healthcare Corporation (PHCC)
- The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC)
The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) works on a Health Card System, for which residents need to register. This gives them access to basic medical services, GP consultations, vaccinations, emergency services, select dental treatment, and childcare services.
Expats may register at a local HMC center or any local post office to procure their Health Card. Typical processing time varies from two to four weeks. The approximate fee for the Hamad Medical Corporation health cards is QR 100 (about $27 USD). Expats may register with the HMC either by themselves or through their employers. You may need to submit the following documents to obtain the HMC Health Card:
- Valid passport/identification card
- Recent passport-size photographs
- Valid residence permit
- Address proof (e.g., a recent utility bill, electricity bill
- Vaccination card (for children)
HMC Health Card holders are eligible for healthcare services in only public hospitals. The card will not provide access to private health centers.
However, be aware that the Qatar public healthcare system has several drawbacks:
- Provides coverage for only part of the medical expenses; the insured may have to pay supplementary out-of-pocket expenses
- Subsidized plans mean long waiting queues
- Lack of doctors and medical staff with English proficiency
- Straining medical resources due to a rapidly growing population
Approximately 70% of Qatar’s healthcare services are provided by private healthcare centers. Services in these private centers are excellent and offer several benefits:
- Shorter waiting times and prompt medical aid
- No need for a lengthy registration process, as with the HMC Health Card
- Expert expat doctors with English-speaking capabilities
- State-of-the-art medical infrastructure and equipment
Qatar Expat Health Insurance
Most expats relocating to Qatar prefer to buy a Qatar expat health insurance plan. These global plans are ideal for expats, students, foreign nationals working in Qatar, and business travellers.
So, what services does a Qatar expat health insurance plan provide?
- Services in the finest healthcare centers not only in Qatar but throughout the Middle East and the world.
- Medical repatriation from Qatar to your homeland, or from Qatar to another country, depending on the need for medical aid
- Ambulance services and medical evacuation
- Routine check-ups
- General Practitioner charges
- Specialist doctor consulting fees
- Prescription medicines
- Medical tests and reports
- Hospitalization charges
- Operating theater, surgery, and anaesthesia charges
- Follow-up fees
- Physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and other special treatment
- Dental care
- Maternity care
- Neonatal and pediatric treatment
A Qatar Expat Health Insurance Plan Means One Less Thing to Worry About
All services under one roof: Isn’t it irritating to buy an insurance plan and then realize that it doesn’t cover your illness? A Qatar expat health insurance plan provides comprehensive healthcare service plans.
Worldwide health insurance: A Qatar expat health insurance means hassle-free travel across the world without worrying about buying separate health insurance for each country you visit. You may choose to buy a global healthcare plan, or worldwide health coverage excluding the U.S. , worldwide excluding the U.S. and Canada, or worldwide excluding the U.S., Canada and Far East Asia.
Travel Insurance Included: Expat health insurance is not a travel insurance plan. But some of them may give you protection against travel-related contingencies like lost baggage, last-minute flight cancellations and lost passports.
No supplementary charges: Most public healthcare insurance plans may provide only basic insurance coverage. And you may end up paying hefty supplementary charges in case of complex health issues, hospitalization, and medical evacuations. There are no such hidden costs with a good Qatar health insurance plan.
Coverage for the entire family: When your employer buys public health insurance, they contribute a fee only for you. Usually, it doesn’t provide health coverage for your spouse or children. Expat health insurance plans provide an umbrella of coverage for not just you, but also your loved ones.
Say “Marhabaan” to good health in Qatar. Review multiple plans, compare them, select the one that best fits your individual needs, and rest assured knowing that your healthcare needs during your time in Qatar are covered with expatriate health insurance.