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Monday, August 2, 2021

Launch of new health insurance plan in Qatar delayed until next year

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Six months after scrapping the rollout of a nationwide insurance scheme, Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) has announced the timeline for a new plan to bring aboard private insurers.

The first stage of this will be implemented next year, a ways behind the June 1 deadline previously given after National Health Insurance Co. (Seha) ended.

In a statement yesterday, MOPH said a new draft law governing the insurance scheme will be put before the Cabinet this month.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Once the legislation has been approved, the Cabinet will order a new committee to be established. It will be headed by the Ministry of Finance and organize a tender process for private health insurance companies.

Previously, health officials had said the tendering process would be completed by February of this year.

The revamped system will aim to provide a comprehensive healthcare system with distinctive and high-quality services and easy access to these services through a diverse range of providers, MOPH said this week.

However, no details of how the new system would work have been revealed yet.

The ministry only said that a consultation process will take place this summer to gauge the views of the community, as well as the opinions of state and private health care providers and private health insurance companies.

The new health insurance scheme will be for Qataris and the first phase is planned to launch “in 2017, after the approval of the competent authorities,” the health authority added.

End of Seha

The previous system Seha had been in its initial phases and was lauded as a comprehensive health insurance scheme. It was expected to be rolled out to all residents in the country this year, with employers footing some of the bill for expats and the government paying for Qataris’ healthcare.

But the scheme was scrapped in December amid criticism that a lot of money was being wasted.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qataris were previously covered by Seha to get treatment at many privately-run clinics and hospitals, but this is now no longer the case.

Until the new scheme is in place, nationals can still get free health care at facilities run by the state-funded Hamad Medical Corp and Primary Health Care Corporation.

Non-nationals who have a Hamad medical card can also use HMC and some of the PHCC services.

Private treatment is covered either through insurance or self-funded.

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