Healthcare Basics

Health insurance in Qatar

Whether you’re relying on public or private health insurance, here’s what you need to know about paying for medical treatment in Qatar.

health insurance Qatar
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Updated 17-5-2024

All citizens from the Gulf countries have access to universal healthcare in Qatar. Expats from outside that region must take out mandatory health insurance.

Discover what this means for your situation by reading the following:

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The healthcare system in Qatar

Qatar (قطر) has a high-quality healthcare system that is one of the best in the Middle East – arguably one of the best in the world. It provides free or subsidized basic medical care to all citizens from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC – مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربية, majlis altaeawun lidual alkhalij alearabia), including those from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Row of ambulances standing outside Villaggio Mall (Doha, Qatar) where a fire broke out in 2012.
Ambulances standing outside Villaggio Mall in Doha, Qatar (Photo: Brian Candy/Flickr Editorial/Getty Images)

Foreign nationals from outside that region are not covered under the public healthcare system. Instead, visitors and expats must take out private health insurance (تأمين صحي, tamin sihiyun) from a company that is registered with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH – وزارة الصحة العامة, wizarat alsihat aleama). They can also get insurance from an international health insurance provider after approval from the MOPH.

The country reportedly spends an annual QR22.7 billion (US$6.23 billion) on healthcare. This is below the Gulf average of US$14.8 billion, as well as the European Union (EU) average of US$16.1 billion (or €14.6 billion).

How does health insurance work in Qatar?

According to the 2013 Healthcare Law, Qatari citizens are required to take out health insurance. However, the same law dictates that the government should pay for people’s insurance premiums. In that sense, Qataris get free or subsidized primary medical care from public hospitals, health centers, and clinics.

That said, it is also common for residents to top up their public health insurance coverage with an additional policy. This gives them access to better and faster medical care in private health centers.

Health insurance for visitors and expats

Nationals from the GCC, including residents and visitors, can benefit from the healthcare system in the same way as Qatari citizens. That means they are not required to take out insurance, but rather, can get free or subsidized healthcare in Qatar.

From May 2022 onward, visitors and expats from outside the GCC must take out mandatory private health insurance to cover medical treatment during their stay in Qatar. The policy must be for at least 30 days, regardless of the period of your stay. If you working for a Qatari employer, they must provide you and your family members with health insurance instead.

The Mandatory Visitors’ Health Insurance covers emergency and accident treatment. This includes medical evacuation to your home country (although, there is a sub-limit of QR35,000 (roughly $9,600)). You can also choose to top up your policy with additional coverage, however, this is not obligatory.

What happens if I am not covered by health insurance?

If you do not take out health insurance before your arrival in Qatar, your visa will be rejected and you’ll be denied entry into the country.

Mounted security forces ride their camels along the Corniche beach promenade.
Mounted security forces in Doha, Qatar (Photo: Robert Michael/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Employers who fail to take out health insurance for their staff face a fine of up to QR30,000 (or $8240) per person.

What does public health insurance cover in Qatar?

Qatari and GCC citizens receive free or subsidized medical care at public hospitals, health clinics, and centers in Qatar. This includes:

The Qatari government reevaluates which medical procedures are included every year.

How to register for health insurance in Qatar

Citizens and residents of Qatar and the GCC can access public healthcare services with a Health Card (بطاقة صحية, bitaqat sihiya). You can apply for one in person at a PHCC or online with the mobile app Nar’aakom.

Which documents you are required to provide depends on your age, nationality, and residency status:

  • A copy of your passport (جواز السفر, jawaz alsafar) or ID card (QID – البطاقة الشخصية, albitaqat alshakhsia)
  • A passport-size photo
  • A copy of a recent utility bill (فاتورة كهرماء, faturat kahurama’) to prove your address
  • Your vaccination card (بطاقة التطعيم, bitaqat altateim) (if the applicant is a child)
  • Your residence permit (تصريح الإقامة, tasrih al’iiqama) (if the applicant is not a Qatari or GCC national)
  • The original QID of your sponsor (if the applicant is working as domestic staff)

The health card costs QR50 if you are a Qatari or GCC citizen, and QR100 if you have a different nationality. Fees must be paid using a credit card. You will receive your card the same day or within a few days.

Qatari couple talking, man in wheelchair.
Photo: Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images

It’s important to note that PHCCs issue health cards only during the mornings of work days. HMC facilities issue cards during morning and evening working hours.

Replacing or renewing your health card

To replace or renew your health card, you can follow the same procedure as when you apply for the first time. As an additional step, you’ll need to provide your old health card.

The cost of renewing an expired health card is:

  • QR50 if you are a Qatari or GCC citizen, or are working as domestic staff
  • QR100 if you are a resident

The cost of replacing a damaged or lost health card is:

  • QR50 for Qatari citizens if the card was still valid
  • QR100 for residents (including GCC citizens) if the card was still valid
  • QR100 for Qatari citizens if the card is expired
  • QR200 for residents (including GCC citizens) if the card is expired

Private health insurance in Qatar

Who should get private health insurance?

Expats and visitors must take out private health insurance to cover their stay in Qatar. The Mandatory Visitors’ Health Insurance policy needs to be valid for at least 30 days. It’ll covers the cost of medical treatment in Qatar (not in other GCC countries), including:

  • Emergency care (up to QR150,000 for the policy period)
  • Emergency transportation (with a sub-limit of QR35,000), including ambulance rides and medical evacuation to your country of residence
  • COVID-19 treatment (with a sub-limit of up to QR50,000) and quarantine expenses (up to QR300 per day)
  • Repatriation in the event of your death (up to QR10,000)

For those who are accident-prone or staying in Qatar for a longer period of time, getting additional coverage might be a good idea.

The advantages of getting private health insurance

Extra insurance will give you access to free or subsidized healthcare such as dentistry and prescription medication, as well as treatment in private clinics and hospitals.

Two medical professionals discussing a procedure for responding to sepsis
Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images for Blue Rubicon

Private hospitals and health centers account for more than half of the healthcare providers in the country, so they often offer easier access to medical services than public hospitals.

How to choose a health insurance provider

You must get an insurance policy from a MOPH-registered insurance provider or government-approved international insurance company before your arrival in Qatar. If not, you will be denied entry into the country. In some cases, your employer or sponsor will take out the insurance for you.

Some of the best expat insurance providers in Qatar include:

Visit the MOPH website for more information on Qatar’s guidelines on health insurance for visitors and expats.

How much is private health insurance in Qatar?

The Mandatory Visitors’ Health Insurance policy costs QR50 per month. If you want to top-up with additional coverage, your premiums can go up. How much depends on your preferred coverage and can vary per insurer.

Health insurance costs and reimbursements

In the late nineties, the Qatar government established the fees and charges of medical treatment in the law. This price list would be revised every year. However, it is unclear what the current (2023) pricing of medical treatments is.

As said before, you can get free or subsidized healthcare with a Health Card. It is therefore important you keep it on your person at all times.

Useful resources

  • Hukoomi – Qatar’s official e-government portal
  • MOPH.gov – official government website with information on the healthcare system in Qatar