New law ensures free treatment abroad for citizens
The State Cabinet has issued new rules for citizens sent abroad for treatment, according to which all expenses would be borne by the state, without any delay.
The cabinet decision No. 69 of 2012 has been amended to include advance payment of daily allowances for the first two weeks for patients sent abroad for treatment, and those travelling with them. For the rest of the duration of treatment, they would be paid at the end of each week, The Peninsula has reported.
All patients, and those accompanying them, would be granted free economy class air tickets. However, in case of special medical cases, and if the flight duration is ten hours or more, patients would be granted a business class ticket.
In 2011, the State spent a total of QR1.2bn ($328.76m) for treatment of citizens abroad. According to official statistics about 2,000 patients were treated abroad in 2012. Majority of patients flew to US or Canada to seek treatment for cancer while others underwent organ transplant or treatment for neurological disorders.
With a majority of citizens preferring treatments elsewhere, Qatar is on a path to improve healthcare facilities in the country. Authorities have already launched the new health insurance system that mandates all Qatari nationals will have their premiums paid by the government, for treatments in the country. The National Health Insurance Scheme is in its second stage of execution that encompasses only Qatari nationals so far. However, by 2015, the scheme will include all expatriates in the country, the medical expenses of whom would be borne by their employers.