Many expatriates and diplomats believe that the new health insurance law, once implemented, will give foreign workers easier access to quality healthcare.
Some workers, however, wondered how the companies would respond to the provision in the law that makes it mandatory for them to provide health cover to their foreign employees and their families.
They fear their employers would give them only the minimum coverage and many private clinics and hospitals may still not be accessible to them.
A low-income worker, who was surprised to hear about the new law, asked, “Are you sure this is free? Because if we have to pay, it is better not to have it. But if it is free, then it would be a better option for us to go to private clinics,” he said.
A driver working with a private company drawing a monthly salary of QR1,200 said: “We don’t even have a health card, only some employees in our company have one. It will be really helpful if they provide us with health insurance. Then we can go to one specific private clinic and claim the money from the company.”
Some workers are keen to see how fair their employers will be in implementing the law. They are concerned if the companies would provide them with an insurance policy just for the sake of giving it.
“It’s good that even the families will be covered, but we don’t know how the companies will do it; which hospitals or clinics will be covered, what would be the minimum amount we have to pay at hospital. All these, we have to wait and see,” said an insurance industry professional working here for the past two years.
Some employees who don’t have health insurance cover even for themselves find the new law as a boon since it will also benefit their families.
“Our company hasn’t given us health insurance cover, instead we are given a health card of the Hamad Medical Corporation, but I don’t use it. Whenever I fall sick, I go to a private clinic because of their faster service,” said a professional working in the travel industry.
An information technology professional living with his family for the past three years in Doha said: “It’s good if we get insurance cover for the family as well.
“At primary health centres we have to wait for a long time and sometimes the doctors are too busy, so they don’t have enough time to see a patient.”
Some Asian diplomats also see the new law as a boon for their people and their families working and living in Qatar. “It a very welcome decision. It may allow workers to access healthcare at any place they like. Almost everyone has a health card of the Hamad Medical Corporation. But the good thing about the new insurance law is that people will have more options in healthcare,” said Philippine Ambassador Crescente R Relacion.
Labour Attaché at the Nepalese embassy, Indradeep Pandey, said that his mission was looking forward to see the law implemented at the earliest.
“The new law is good news for expatriates. They can go to any place they like to get treatment. We are looking forward to seeing it being implemented,” he said.
Source :Qatar Chronicle