Mandatory health insurance for medical travel to Qatar

Qatar has set a premium for mandatory health insurance for tourists and medical tourists entering the country, according to the Official Gazette published on 2 October.

Visitors to Qatar must now pay QAR50 (US$13.73) per month for the health insurance.  This follows an earlier directive by the Ministry of Health that sets health insurance premiums for visitors.

People cannot choose the cover or insurer and there is no exemption for those already with travel or health insurance.

Also recently issued are the Executive Regulations on mandatory health insurance for expatriates. Only insurers licensed in compliance with Qatar law and registered with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) can provide basic and additional cover.  International health insurers can no longer provide cover for members in Qatar through licensed intermediaries in the Qatar Financial Centre or the State.

The Executive Regulations extend to and preclude insurance brokers and claims management companies from participating in the scheme unless they obtain the requisite authorisation to operate in Qatar and register with the MOPH.

The only exception to the strict prohibition is in relation to visitors to Qatar (persons who are not expatriates or residents) who hold a global health insurance policy that includes Qatar and covers basic healthcare comprising emergency and accident services.

With health insurance mandatory to enter the country Qatari licensed insurers are well placed to capitalise on these changes.

There is no cover for outbound medical tourism for expatriates in either the basic or extra cover.