Qatar rolls out first phase of health insurance scheme

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All Qatari females aged 12 and over will be provided with health insurance for maternity, obstetrics, gynecology and related services by the government from next month, the Gulf state's Supreme Council of Health (SCH) announced.

In a major step towards the implementation of the country's National Health Insurance scheme, the SCH said stage one of the mandatory scheme will start on July 2013 and will cover about 90,000 Qatari women.

“All Qatari female from age 12 onwards are automatically enrolled,” said Dr Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali, assistant secretary general for policy affairs at the SCH. “All they need to do to identify themselves when they go to a provider is present their Qatari ID card."

As subsequent stages are launched, more people in Qatar will be covered by the national health insurance plan. From the beginning of 2014 the National Health Insurance Scheme will cover all Qatari nationals. Foreign nationals residing in the country will be included from 2015, although their premiums will be paid by employers, rather than the government.

Employers are not permitted to deduct these premiums from their staff's salaries.

According to 2011 figures from the Qatar National Health Accounts, Qatar currently spends approximately $2,000 on healthcare per capita. The report also showed that the country’s healthcare expenditure currently stands at $3.3bn, with the public sector accounting for around 79 percent of that volume.

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