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Qatar health insurance

Qatar has remained immune to many economic and political turmoil in the region, making it attractive for expats to start a new life and a new career there. But, unlike its size, Qatar's petrochemical reserves are huge and have brought great financial wealth and prosperity to the country.

This short guide provides a practical overview of the field of healthcare and insurance in Qatar for residents residing or traveling in the country. Read on for more information, or click the button below for a free, no-obligation quote.

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Qatar history

Qatar occupies a small peninsula that extends to the Persian Gulf. It is limited to the west by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to the south by the United Arab Emirates. The land is largely arid and the main trade before the discovery of crude oil was fishing and pearl diving. The country was originally ruled by the Bahraini elders, until the Portuguese arrived, followed by the British takeover. The British themselves installed the head of a large Qatari family, Muhammad Hamid Thani, as governor of the region. The family originated from the Masjid tribe in Ushiger in Al-Wushoun province in Najd in the mid-18th century. Qatar has ruled as an absolute monarchy since then, before becoming a constitutional monarchy in 2005. In 1971, Qatar became independent from British rule, ushering in a prosperous future for the country. A future that revolves around the main source of income for the country: oil and gas exports.

The rich and prosperous nation.

Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world. Oil was discovered in the 1940s and the country began to increase its wealth in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2015, about 85 percent of Qatar's income came from oil and natural gas reserves.

Qatar's rich demography

According to the United Nations, as of August 2019, the population of Qatar was 2,839,386 people. Qataris are a minority in their country, with 15% of them representing the total population of Qatar. The remaining 85% consists of a workforce of over one hundred different nationalities. Indians make up the largest group of expatriates in Qatar, followed by other Arab, Nepali, Bangladeshi, Egyptian, and many other nationalities who contribute to Qatar's global growth.

Qatar Health System Overview

Qatar, one of the smallest and wealthiest countries in the world, ranked fifth in 2019 for having the best healthcare system in the world, according to the London-based Legatum Research Center. The health care system is available to all Qataris and expats through public and private health services.

General health care in Qatar

Compared to public health systems in other parts of the world, Qatar has benefited from the country's massive investment in the past twenty years by the Qatar government. The province's public hospitals and clinics are well equipped with the latest technology and facilities. The medical staff is highly qualified and specialized. The public health service provides free or highly subsidized medical care to residents. All Qataris and residents receive free treatment. However, expats generally pay small out-of-pocket fees or cover themselves with a health card.

What is the Qatar Health Card?

The health card provides access to hospitals and public clinics run by the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). Hamad Medical Corporation clinics and hospitals offer free vaccines for children, smoking cessation programs, diet clinics, support for families with children with special needs, treatment and care, and much more - the list is extensive.

The global benefits of having a health card in Qatar

  • Hamad Medical Corporation clinics and hospitals provide advanced medical equipment and highly skilled employees who provide the health card.
  • All citizens and residents have the right to equal access to health services, regardless of their residence or nationality when they have a health card.
  • Health card holders can receive prescriptions from government-run pharmacies at subsidized prices.
  • Non-emergency consultations or treatments may cost slightly more, but are reasonably compatible for those with a valid health card.

How to apply for a health card in Qatar?

Applying for a health card is quite reasonable for expats. In short, the most recommended channel is to obtain a health card through any HMC clinic or APS center. The application process is reasonably simple. Arrivals must complete the form and present the following complementary documents:
  • passport
  • Resident visa
  • Passport size photos
It is recommended that you check the official health card guidelines and fees to ensure that the application process is smooth.

Private healthcare in Qatar

The private health sector in Qatar is a rapidly growing sector, driven by the demand for faster medical services and health treatments as the population continues to grow. Private health care offers more treatment options, especially specialized procedures, as well as greater freedom to choose who to treat. Although public services are highly valued for being effective and employing excellent medical personnel, private hospitals generally excel in the fastest field of treatment.

Pharmacies and medicines in Qatar

In Qatar there are many pharmacies that operate 24 hours in Doha. Residents and loved ones can also find pharmacies at most major hospitals. In terms of availability, most medications can be administered over the counter or prescribed by doctors. For residents taking certain medications, it is best to check before moving to Qatar to see how easy it is to obtain the medication if supplies run out. It is worth noting that some common medications in the West, like many brands of antidepressants, are banned in Qatar.

List of vaccines

Qatar is known for being a very safe country and expats can expect a very comfortable lifestyle compared to other developed countries. However, expats must speak to their doctor at least six weeks before traveling to Qatar to ensure their vaccinations are up-to-date and to confirm their requirements for the country.

The following vaccinations are recommended before traveling to Qatar:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Rage
  • Anthrax
  • Meningitis
  • poliomyelitis
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough)
  • Chickenpox
  • Herpes infection
  • Pneumonia
  • flu

How to find the best health insurance for expats and travelers

With many years of experience around the world, Pacific Prime can assist you with any health insurance need in Qatar. By leveraging our close relationships with leading international insurance companies, we provide professional advice and free plan comparisons to our clients.

Regardless of your budget, or what your requirements are, our professional consultants can tailor it to a policy that suits you or your group. Our policies can cover a wide range of services including dentistry and maternity, professional counseling, emergency medical transportation, hospitalization services, and many other aspects. Expats with family members can provide international coverage for all family members. For international students or travelers seeking international travel or health insurance, Pacific Prime is the insurance broker for the best neutral advice and guidance.

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