An expat guide to healthcare and health insurance in Qatar
Are you researching an expat health insurance for Qatar? It is important to find out about the local healthcare system first.
Whether you are moving to Mexico or you are already living there as an expat, read our guide to the Qatari healthcare system, your different options of medical insurance for Qatar and an overview of the average cost of local healthcare
- Total population (2017): 2.6 million
- Gross national income per capita (PPP international $, 2017): 128,060
- Life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2016): 77/80
- Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population, 2016): 66/47
- Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2014): 3,071
- Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2014): 2.2
Healthcare in Qatar for expats
Qatar offers healthcare known for its excellent quality, whether it is in the public or the private sector. There are many medical centres, with modern equipment and efficient staff.
There is a good doctor-patient ratio in Qatar, due in part to the low population but high number of medical centres. Similarly, hospital waiting lists are virtually inexistent. However, it is sometimes recommended to seek medical care outside of Qatar for highly specialised treatment, hence the importance of an international cover.
The public healthcare system in Qatar is regulated by the Supreme Council of Health and is available to everyone (Qataris and expatriates). Healthcare is usually free or highly subsidised.
Compulsory basic insurance
Qatar is currently putting into place a compulsory health insurance system, with the aim to offer a basic level health cover to the population as a whole, including new arrivals. The health cover is funded by the state. It is now mandatory to subscribe and it is not possible to avoid it by subscribing to a private medical insurance. Since the end of 2015, all expatriates must be covered. Tourists and visitors are also affected: they must have a minimum health cover in place before entering Qatar, such as travel insurance.
The government takes responsibility for the health insurance costs of Qataris, whilst employers are in charge of paying for their expatriate employees as well as their families. Visitors and tourists have to pay for their own insurance, which is needed in order to obtain a visa.
The level of medical cover differs depending on your situation. If you are a tourist you will only need to be covered for accidents and emergencies; Qatari nationals have a complete cover and expatriates are not covered for all medical procedures and costs (for example they are not covered for organ transplants).
Currently many expatriates are covered under a private international insurance, but a system has been put into place in order to gradually replace this cover with the state cover. However, it is always possible to have an international insurance as a top-up cover.
The compulsory state medical cover is limited to a network of doctors and providers. A private health insurance offers the patient the flexibility of choosing the doctor they wish to consult as well as the medical centre where they wish to be seen and consultation times.
International health insurance for expats in Qatar
As explained above, signing up to the Qatari health care system is compulsory. For certain treatment not covered by state health insurance, or to have the choice and flexibility of where to be seen, an additional private insurance is recommended. It is advised for this additional insurance to be international in case you need to be treated abroad. Moreover, if you move away from Qatar your international insurance can follow you.
Only insurance from health insurance providers who are registered in Qatar are valid within the country. If your health insurance company is registered you can be treated abroad as well as in Qatar. If your health insurance company is not registered, it will be valid only outside of Qatar, and you would have to subscribe to the state health care system in order to be covered within Qatar.
If you would like wider financial protection in the event of stopping work due to an accident or disabling illness, Expat Assure can also advise you on expat life insurance for Qatar and income protection. To find out more, please, read our pages on expat life insurance and expat income protection.
What is the best health insurance for expats in Qatar
The best health insurance in Qatar for one expat might not be the best for you as everyone has different needs and expectations.
In order to find which one is the best health insurance in Qatar for you, it is important to consider several aspects such as your medical history, your age, your specific needs in terms of medical cover, your situation in Qatar, alongside other parameters.
How much does healthcare cost in Qatar
Cost of a private GP: Between 300 and 400 QAR ($82/£65 – $110/£87approx.)
Cost of a dentist consultation: For some dentist surgeries, the consultation is free; otherwise it will be around 100 – 400 QAR ($27/£22- $110/£87 approx.). Having a crown fitted can cost between 1,000 and 4,000 QAR ($275/£218 – $1100/£870 approx.)
Such as with any type of health insurance, the price of a medical insurance for expats in Qatar varies greatly depending on the personal situation, the age, the medical history of each individual as well as other parameters. If you would like to have an idea of the cost of private health insurance for Qatar, we can prepare for you a personalised comparison of different international health insurance plans. Contact us today for your free health insurance comparison.
Such as with any type of health insurance, the price of a medical insurance for expats in Qatar varies greatly depending on the personal situation, the age, the medical history of each individual as well as other parameters.
If you would like to have an idea of the cost of private health insurance for Qatar, we can prepare for you a personalised comparison of different international health insurance plans. Contact us today for your free health insurance comparison.
There are no specific vaccinations required to enter Qatar. However, it is recommended to make sure your diphtheria, tetanus, and polio vaccinations are up-to-date. It is also advised to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B and typhoid. Please see the NHS Fit-for-Travel website for more information.
999 (police, fire brigade, and ambulance)
The main Accident and Emergency centre in Qatar is the Hamad General Hospital (a public hospital). The private hospital Al Ahli also has an A&E service. The emergency services are free, but it is recommended to always have your health card on you in case you need to present it.
The dry and desert-like atmosphere in Qatar can have an impact on residents’ health. The temperature can reach 50°C during summer. The risk of sunstroke or sun burn is very high. During the summer months it is advisable to avoid going outdoors during high-sun. Dehydration is another danger which should not be underestimated as it is potentially fatal. There are also risks of respiratory problems, due to the dust and sand in the air.
Medicines and pharmacies
Lots of pharmacies are open 24/7 and offer a home delivery service.
Certain medicines available only with a prescription in other countries are available over the counter in Qatar. In some cases you may be able to go to the pharmacy in order to avoid having to see a GP. Conversely, some medicines commonly found in other countries are illegal in Qatar (including codeine and some antidepressants). It is advised to always have your prescription with you when travelling with medicine.
Get in touch
Call us on +44 (0)20 3137 2857
We are open from 9am to 5pm from Monday to Friday
We build partnerships with reputable insurance companies who are long-established in the expatriate insurance industry. All the international insurance companies we work with have both individual and corporate plans. Find out more about our partners here.