First Phase Of Health Insurance Scheme To Cover Qatari Women; Begins in July
The first stage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) will start operations in July with Qatari women alone, and achieve complete coverage of all residents in 2015.
The Supreme Council of Health (SCH) made the announcement at a press conference today. The scheme comprises five phases, and stage 1 will cover all Qatari women from age 12 for maternity, obstetrics, gynecology and other related issues.
To manage the health insurance scheme a National Health Insurance Company (NHIC) has been established. NHIC is fully owned by the government and its board of directors comprises representatives from the SCH, the Ministries of Finance, Labour, Interior, the Central Municipality Council and two members from the private business sector.
Addressing the media, Dr Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali, Assistant Secretary General for Policy Affairs at the SCH said, “The NHIS is one of 39 national health strategy projects that are transforming the healthcare landscape in Qatar. With the launch of the first stage of the scheme, we will be able to provide Qatari women with the choice of public and private providers. The provider network will expand as the scheme takes effect. As the following stages are launched, more groups of people living in Qatar will be covered within the national health insurance plan.”
The NHIS is divided into the following stages:
|Stage||Period||Which groups are covered?||Which services are covered?||Which providers are in the network?|
|1||July 2013||Qatari women from age 12+||Maternity, obstetrics,gynecology and related healthcare issues.
|HMC Women’sHospital, Al Emadi Hospital, Al Ahli Hospital and Doha Clinic Hospital. More to be added soon.
|2||Q1 2014||All Qatari nationals||All services||Select HMC andprivate providers|
|All Qatari nationals||All services||Select HMC and expanded private providers|
|4||Q1 2015||All Qatari nationals, white-collar non-nationals and visitors
|All services||Select HMC and expanded private providers
|5||TBD 2015||All Qatari nationals, white-collar and blue –collar non-nationals and visitors
|All services||Select HMC and expanded private providers + three designated purpose built single male labourers’ hospitals.
To avail of this scheme, only a Qatar ID card is required for identification and verification. Regarding stage 1, Dr Faleh says, “The fact that we are using the Qatar ID database means that all Qatari females from age 12 onwards are automatically enrolled,” he said. “All they need to do to identify themselves when they go to a provider is present their Qatari ID card. Provided your nationality is listed as Qatari in the ID card system, you will be able to access Stage 1 services at the provider network.”
A move to improve quality
According to Dr Faleh, the NHIS has not been designed to cut costs, but to provide quality services to everyone living in Qatar-both nationals and expatriates. Since the scheme also includes private health institutions, people will have more options of service providers to choose from. “This will encourage a healthy competition among service providers which in turn will help improve the quality of healthcare services in the country.
“In addition, the information that we gain through the national health insurance scheme will be used for planning, to ensure that the resources of the government are used efficiently and where they are needed to respond to the healthcare needs of Qatar. ”
As per the scheme, all Qatari nationals will have their premiums paid by the government while non-nationals will have their premiums paid by their employers. (Information about the premium is not available at the moment.) However, Dr Faleh stressed that, employers are not allowed to deduct these premiums from their employees, which can call for strict action. “We don’t want to put an extra burden on employers, but they should make it their responsibility to provide employees with healthcare services.”
Read JustHere’s earlier report on this law here.
To ensure the smooth implementation of the NHIS stage-by-stage, SCH also announced the appointment of Al Khaleej Takaful as the Third Part Administrator (TPA) who will oversee the daily operations of the scheme on behalf of the NHIC. Al Khaleej Takaful will help connect beneficiaries and providers with the NHIC through services such as claims management systems and a call centre.
Below are FAQS about the NHIS. Visit the SCH website for more information.