The much-awaited universal health insurance scheme has become a reality in Qatar with HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani yesterday issuing Law Number 7 of 2013.
Applicable to all residents and visitors, the health insurance system ensures mandatory basic healthcare, including preventive, medical, rehabilitation and diagnostic services.
According to the Law, the government shall be responsible for the payment of the health insurance premiums of all citizens. Employers will pay the premiums of their non-Qatari employees and their family members.
Visitors have to pay their health insurance premium on the basis of their period of their stay in Qatar. A visit visa will not be issued or renewed without the payment of the health insurance premium.
Law Number 7 of 2013 comprises six chapters and 30 articles. The Law comes into effect from the date of issue and will be published in the official gazette.
Article 19 of the Law says that the government shall establish a Qatari joint stock company as per the Commercial Law to be responsible for the implementation and management of the health insurance system.
As per the provision of the Law, the employers may provide their workers, their family members and their sponsored persons additional healthcare or special medical insurance.
Non-Qatari women married to Qatari men, children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris and other categories decided by the Minister of Public Health and the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) will get treatment similar to that of Qatari nationals.
The health insurance shall be provided by establishments legally licensed to carry on the insurance business and licensed by the SCH, in accordance with the Law to provide insurance cover to residents and visitors and those who desire to obtain additional health services.
The beneficiaries of the Law may be provided with additional services by the healthcare providers after approval by the council.
Article 5 of the Law says that the SCH shall be responsible for the health insurance system, its supervision, organisation and development.
According to Article 6, the SCH General Secretariat shall, among other things, submit periodical recommendations to the Minister on the basic health service that must be provided to the beneficiaries, the amount of the insurance premium, and the quantum of government support.
For the purpose of issue or renewal of residence visas, the employers and sponsors should include all their employees/workers in the health insurance system and submit evidence for the same.
Every healthcare provider may, in accordance with the SCH approval, request to be included in the health insurance system to provide all or some of the basic health services to the beneficiaries.
The Law was issued after perusal of the Constitution, Law No 11 of 1982 concerning the organisation of medical institutions, Law No 5 of 1989 concerning the general budget, Law No 8 of 1989 concerning treatment of nationals of the Gulf Co-operation Council countries in health establishments, and the recommendations of the Advisory Council (Shura).
It was reported earlier that the health insurance scheme will be implemented in phases, with Qatari women included in the first stage.
Read more http://www.gulf-times.com/qatar/178/details/355069/health-insurance-law-comes-into-effect
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