A Statutory Health Insurance Body is being set up under the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) to oversee the compulsory health insurance scheme in Qatar, with preparations in progress to implement the first phase of the scheme by the end of next year. The scheme, once fully implemented will cover all the nationals and expatriates as well as visitors to the country.

The full implementation of the scheme would take three to four years. “We are expecting to implement the first phase of the mandatory health insurance scheme by the end of next year. It will be a pilot project, targeting particular segments of the population, which is yet to be decided,” said Faleh Hussain, addressing a news conference at the SCH premises yesterday.

The SCH was asked by the higher authorities to complete the insurance scheme as soon as possible so that the first phase of it be implemented early next year.

“We are in the second phase of preparations for the project which includes establishment of the Statutory Health Insurance Body. This body will supervise the scheme and lay down the standards and procedures,” said Faleh Hussain.

He said details of the scheme were yet to be worked out. All the healthcare providers in the public and private sectors as well as the insurance companies would be involved in implementation of the scheme.

The scheme will offer a minimum package at an “affordable” premium. There will be clear standards regarding the cost and the quality of treatment. Some types of treatment such as cosmetic surgeries are not likely to be covered by the scheme, since they are not important from a medical point of view.

Unified standards regarding the medical fees in the private healthcare sector are also expected to be laid down as a prelude to implementing the insurance scheme.

All disputes between the parties involved in the scheme will be referred to the statutory body for a final decision.

A comprehensive law regulating health insurance is in the making, said Faleh Hussain.

“The draft law is ready. There are some gaps in the draft law that need to be filled, after which it will be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval,” he added.

He said the basic objective of the scheme was to ensure quality healthcare to the whole population in the country.