Some of the Qatari women, visiting private clinics, are refusing the mandatory National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, which was launched in July, because they do not know about its coverage, Gulf Times has learnt.
The NHI scheme will provide mandatory basic health insurance coverage for citizens, foreign residents and visitors in the country.
“Because some of our Qatari patients lack the understanding of the new scheme, they are refusing to be enrolled under the scheme, thinking it is not a universal coverage like their private insurance policies,” Doha Clinic Hospital Insurance manager Dr Islam Zakaria told Gulf Times yesterday.
Doha Clinic Hospital began implementing the new NHI among Qatari women aged from 12 years and wives of Qatari men on July 17.
There are presently some 1,500 female Qataris, including about 20 requiring admission, enrolled under the scheme at the hospital.
Doha Clinic, Al Ahli Hospital and Al Emadi Hospital are the three private hospitals that are approved by the government, alongside the Hamad Medical Corporation’s Women’s Hospital, to offer obstetrics/gynaecology services to this category of women in the first stage of the scheme.
“When the women come here, some will insist they prefer other insurance, but we will explain the advantage of the scheme and make them realise that the NHI is universal coverage,” he said.
Dr Zakaria claimed that so far, the implementation of the system has been smooth in the hospital as staff were briefed about the scheme immediately after its launch.
“Before we began to run the scheme, officials from the National Health Insurance Company (NHIC) came here to orientate us about the services. They spoke to everyone,” he recalled.
The NHIC manages and operates the Social Health Insurance Scheme.
However, the official admitted there were initial problems in implementing the compensatory payment, which he said was one of the most advanced system in the world.
The universal health insurance is a key component of the National Health Strategy 2011-2016 and a fundamental step toward ensuring a healthy population in Qatar.
The scheme is expected to roll out in five stages until 2015. The first stage, launched in July will run until first quarter of 2014, providing coverage for Qatari females aged from 12 years for maternity, obstetrics, gynaecology and related healthcare services.
The Qataris are automatically enrolled under the scheme using their national identity card. The NHI scheme is also expected to cover all segments of the population in Qatar, including workers as well as visitors.
Non-Qataris are enrolled on renewal of their residence permits while visitors are enrolled on issuance of their visa.
While all Qatari nationals will have their premiums paid by the government, non-Qataris will have their premiums paid by their employers and the latter are not allowed to deduct the premiums from their employees salaries, the National Health Insurance law states.
Other stages of the scheme are as follows:
Second stage: first quarter of 2014 (all Qatari nationals in a select provider network)
Third stage: third quarter of 2014 (all Qatari nationals in an expanded provider network)
Fourth stage: first quarter of 2015 (all Qatari nationals, white-collar expatriates and visitors)
Fifth stage: to be decided in 2015 (all Qatari nationals, white-collar and blue-collar expatriates and visitors).
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