The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has passed a new Law No. 22 of 2021, whereby a mandatory Health Insurance system will be implemented for all expatriates (expats) and visitors to the country, providing basic healthcare services to them through approved private health care providers, according to their insurance coverage.

The provisions of the law also oblige employers/recruiters to provide health insurance for their non-Qatari workers through the insurance companies registered with MoPH to provide them with basic insurance coverage. The same obligation to provide basic insurance coverage applies to residents who bring someone to the country.

The Health Insurance system will lead to the development of the health sector and services provided to the public. By diverting the challenges facing the public health sector to private healthcare providers, and through the participation of both sectors in providing healthcare services to the population, waiting times in government health facilities across the country will be reduced, allowing appointments and consultations to be held within a timeframe that meets citizens’ need for high-quality medical care.

The law will be implemented six months after being issued and, during this period, services will continue to be provided to all residents. The MoPH will issue and publish all the rules related to the new law and health insurance system during the coming period.

 

So, what does this mean for the residents of Qatar?

As part of the Qatar National Vision 2030, Law No. 22 of 2021, effective 4th May 2022, applies only to Qatar’s 2 to 2.5 million expats and to the expected 1.5 million visitors, building a world-class healthcare system and offering Health Insurance ensures improved productivity, boosts morale and helps shape a positive company culture.

The country will have a ‘No Insurance, No Entry’ policy, which means any expatriate or visitor that cannot present proof of Health Insurance throughout their stay in Qatar will be denied their entry permit, or renewal of residence permit, and may not be hired.

Although the specifics and by-laws of Law No. 22 of 2021 have not yet been issued, we are expecting significant economic, social, human and environmental impacts including, but not limited to:

  • Higher cash flow in the Insurance sector.
  • An increase in staff numbers, which contributes positively to the economy.
  • Employment among healthcare providers is also expected to increase, improving the quality of the infrastructure and services provided.
  • An estimated QAR 1.2 to 1.7 billion is expected to be saved annually in governmental subsidies.
  • Reduced waiting times in public facilities.
  • Those public facilities will concentrate on providing optimal services to Qatari nationals, given the improved physician-per-patient ratio, an
    increase in available beds, and the reduced waiting times.

 

Will the new law affect how we use our Hamad Medical Corporation’s Healthcare card?

Although the specifics of the law have not yet been published, we can assume that in future there will be changes to the way we use the Hamad Health card, due to the movement of expatriates into the private-health sector.

 

All & About will keep you posted over the coming months, as and when we receive updates or detailed regulations are published.