Qatar to implement national health insurance scheme ‘in three years’

March 22, 2011

Faleh Ali

Qatar’s plan to have a full-fledged national health insurance could be achieved within the next three years, a senior official of the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has said.

According to a draft law, plans are under way to establish, within the next 12 months, a statutory health insurance body, which will oversee the compulsory health insurance scheme and co-operate closely with the existing insurance companies.

The plan is to put healthcare providers in both private and public sectors, as part of the scheme’s provider network for as long as they are licensed by accredited and registered with the statutory body, Qatari daily Gulf Times reports on Tuesday.

The SCH will be the sole regulator of the system that will have a financing stewardship with respect to the mandatory health insurance scheme, the draft law says.

“We are drawing closer to getting the national health insurance scheme up and running and we are presently developing a plan which will lay down the upcoming implementation process in discreet and incremental stages,” Falah Mohammad Hussain Ali, SCH assistant secretary general for policy, said. “In three to four years, we should have a scheme offering universal coverage that others will aspire to replicate.”

All citizens, residents and visitors will benefit under the scheme, he said.

“Health insurance is a social scheme, so we are going to provide minimum package to cover healthcare costs of everybody including visitors and we will ensure that the premium is also affordable,” Falah said.

The official said that plastic and cosmetic surgery would not be covered under the insurance.

The official also dismissed claims the insurance scheme is a tool for funding.

“Our aim is to present this scheme as a tool for guaranteeing quality healthcare services and not as a means only to generate revenue as there will be competitiveness between service providers to the benefits of the users.”

The goals of the scheme are based on Qatar National Vision 2030 and the National Health Strategy and are in line with international conventions and standards such as the World Health Organisation and International Labour Organisation, he said.

“We have just concluded Phase One of the scheme’s time-line and plan, which included selecting the best insurance option for the country by researching the best known international and regional practices as well as held an extensive stakeholders consultation,” he said.

The council is now moving into the second phase of the project expected to end within the next year.

“Phase Two of the plan will hopefully conclude the project aspect of the scheme, after which we will start the first stage of the scheme itself by building the organisation structure of the statutory health insurance body and establish the operating and business process model,” he said.

However, a pilot scheme, which will help the council get a clearer picture of how to implement the main insurance scheme, will soon begin among a target group.

“Intensive work in establishing all other required infrastructure and prerequisites such as quality, cost and access standards, a common coding scheme, business and IT system and communication and public relations programme of dissemination of the scheme, will soon get under way,” Falah said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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