Learn about the Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats in Qatar
Qatar provides excellent healthcare services across its public and private hospitals. Waiting ques are nonexistent due to an excellent doctor-patient ratio. Medical centers are equipped with modern facilities and efficient staff. The cost of healthcare can vary from one hospital to another. But global citizens and expats in Qatar can expect high standards of medical care at subsidized prices. Access to medical care becomes a lot easier when expats have international health insurance. However, in the absence of subsidy, healthcare can be costly. Therefore, travelers and expats must understand how the Qatar healthcare system works. Understanding how international health insurance works is necessary to obtain the most effective care during your stay in the country.
Additionally, CDC provides vital information on vaccinations and travel safety for those traveling to Qatar.
Overview of Healthcare System
The healthcare system in Qatar has been consistently rated the best among the Middle-Eastern countries. Many doctors in public and private hospitals in Qatar are highly skilled and experienced. Most of these doctors are expats. Qatari residents are entitled to subsidized healthcare facilities through the country’s public healthcare system. The expensive private healthcare system exists for those who desire quicker or specialist treatment. However, the recent suspension of the Social Medical Insurance Scheme might impact the private and public healthcare systems in the future. The move will restrict global citizens in Qatar from accessing public healthcare services and make private international health insurance compulsory for them.
How the Qatar Healthcare Works for Expats?
Both public and private hospitals in Qatar have top-notch equipment and efficient staff. The Supreme Council of Health regulates the public healthcare system. The system is available to the residents of Qatar and expats. Healthcare is usually either available for free or at a highly subsidized cost.
To extend coverage to the residents and expats of the country, the government has been issuing a compulsory health insurance system. It offers a basic level of medical cover to the population of Qatar. It is mandatory to subscribe to public health insurance, and one cannot bypass the procedure by opting for private medical insurance instead. Visitors and expats must have a health cover before arriving in the country.
Public Healthcare in Qatar
The government of Qatar has invested heavily in the public healthcare system. Having benefited from the investment, public clinics and hospitals have sound infrastructure and highly skilled staff at their disposal. The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), a non-profit organization, directs Qatar’s public medical facilities and monitors major public hospitals of the country. With an intricate network of medical clinics and hospitals, the HMC provides free treatment to residents and at subsidized rates for expats. One can access these services through a government health card. Subsidized public healthcare services reduce the cost of treatment for local Qataris, but the expats may still have to pay nominal costs for tests, consultation, and in-patient care.
Private Healthcare in Qatar
The private healthcare sector of the country is growing exponentially due to popular demand. The government of Qatar also advocates the private healthcare system strongly. Medical services at private hospitals are either available on a pay-as-you-need basis or as a medical coverage guaranteed by the international health insurance provider. Given the fact that the cost of treatment in the country is rapidly increasing, we advise expats to secure international health insurance.
Expats might often find themselves mandatorily paying for public healthcare. Some of them, therefore, choose to supplement it with international health insurance. Others enjoy healthcare subsidies due to medical insurances provided by their employers. Due to this reason, there is uncertainty over the dispensation of public healthcare for expats in the country.
Emergency Medical Services in Qatar
A large fleet of emergency vehicles is available in the country. The average response time is generally impressive, especially in Doha. Both public and private hospitals have an ambulance service. Helicopter emergency rescue services and medical evacuation via airlifting are available throughout the country. Expats can dial 999 to access ambulance, police, or the fire department.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Plenty of 24-hour pharmacies operate throughout Doha. Most medicines are available in Qatar, barring a few. Most pharmacies have a range of drugs and products, but they do no sell specific brands of anti-depressants.
Residents of the country can buy medicines at subsidized rates using their health cards at state-run pharmacies. Expatriates should bring their medications in clearly marked official bottles along with a doctor’s prescription if available.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Qatar
If you’re a global citizen, expat, or a digital nomad moving to Qatar, we recommend opting for an international health insurance policy. You should ensure that it covers overseas medical evacuation in the event of a severe medical emergency. The most popular insurance plans offered through our website in the country by global insurance companies are Cigna Global and Allianz International.