How the Medical system works in Qatar

Healthcare standards in Qatar are generally high. Modern medical facilities and Western-style pharmacies are available.

Qatar’s health system has undergone a momentous journey of transformation in recent decades. The growth of investment in new healthcare facilities, services and technologies has transformed the health infrastructure in the country, ensuring that the health needs of the nation’s fast-growing population can be met.

Qatari citizens are covered by a national health insurance scheme, while expatriates must either receive health insurance from their employers, or in the case of the self-employed, purchase insurance. The Healthcare Services Law No. 22 of 2021 (the New Healthcare Insurance Law) provides free healthcare services for Qatari citizens at public medical facilities, and mandating private health insurance for residents, visitors, and tourists came into partial effect in May 2022. The law is not yet in full effect. Before the law’s partial enactment in May 2022, most foreign nationals seeking work and residence in Qatar could enroll in a government health insurance scheme, a private health insurance scheme, or choose both options. Now, private health insurance is mandatory for non-Qatari workers in the public and private sectors and employers and sponsors must provide basic health services.

For decades, Qatar provided free health services to everyone in the country, costing the government $5 billion annually. This mandate is expected to reduce government healthcare spending, disbursed through subsidies on patient care, and allow re-allocation of government funds.

The announcement of the Law introduces several significant changes to the current health insurance system:

  • All non-Qatari nationals and visitors in Qatar must have private health insurance for the duration of their stay to receive basic medical services.
  • Qatari nationals/citizens will continue to receive free-of-charge healthcare services at government health facilities.
  • Employers must enroll their non-Qatari employees and their family members onto the mandatory health insurance scheme through contracts with insurance companies registered with MOPH.
  • Employers and expatriate sponsors must provide basic health insurance coverage to their employees
  • Employers will need to prove their employees are covered by the mandatory health insurance scheme when issuing or renewing their residence permits.
  • Basic health insurance will be a prerequisite for obtaining any form of permit or visa. Foreign nationals without health insurance will not be able to obtain a new visa or renew an existing visa.

Visiting a doctor in Qatar

Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Being admitted to hospital in Qatar

For emergency services in Qatar, dial 999.

Ambulance services are widely available.

Buying medication in Qatar

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Some prescription medications from the United States are unavailable or restricted in Qatar, for example, stimulants, strong pain medications, and some medications used by HIV+ patients. Check with the Qatari customs authority on proper travel procedures and the Ministry of Public Health to ensure the medication is legal in Qatar. Discuss a health care plan with your doctor before you travel.

Air Quality in Qatar

Air quality is poor in Qatar, with frequent dust and particle pollution. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

Contraceptives, Pregnancy, and Prenatal Care in Qatar

Sexual intercourse outside of marriage is illegal in Qatar. As such, pregnant women must present a marriage certificate to receive prenatal care at medical facilities in Qatar. Unmarried pregnant women should consult their embassy prior to pursuing prenatal care in Qatar.

Contraceptives are available over the counter with no prescription required. Emergency contraceptives are not available.

Source: US Department of State, Qatar Ministry of Public Health, International Trade Administration, Wikipedia