By Neil Halligan
Social Medical Insurance Scheme has reportedly paid out $353m since its launch in July 2013
Qatar’s Social Medical Insurance Scheme (Seha) is set to be extended to expats from next year, according to the local media agency.
The Minister of Public Health, Abdullah bin Khalid Al Qahtani told Qatar News Agency that the extension of health cover to expats is part of the third and last phase of Seha, which will include all resident employees, workers, domestic helpers and visitors.
“Adding workers to the third phase will coincide with the opening of new hospitals planned for single workers next year,” he said.
Al Qahtani told the newspaper that the cost of providing the health insurance for workers will be borne by the employers and that the premium will not be deducted from their salaries.
The health insurance will come in varying packages, depending on the sector the expat is working in.
“For example, the insurance package for personnel will differ from workers and from domestic workers, while the insurance for visitors will only cover emergency services,” Al Qahtani said.
The first phase of Seha was launched in July 2013, and included Qatari females aged 12 and above. The second phase was then launched in April 2014 to include all Qatari citizens.
Since its introduction, Al Qahtani said Seha has paid medical bills worth QR1.285 billion ($353 million).