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Getting Your Health Card in Qatar

Having a Qatar health card is a great asset, whether it is to compliment your private insurance or to ensure proper medical care in the absence of private insurance. Here's some useful advice about why, where and how to get a health card.




Why?

Qatar has a heavily subsidized healthcare system. Expatriates, citizens and even visitors can take advantage of this system, which includes a network of primary care centres and clinics offering medical, dental and optometry services for the entire family.

Qatar's private healthcare services on the other hand are more expensive than those run by the state and not all companies offer their employees health insurance. Additionally, private healthcare does not offer a full range of services, whereas the public hospitals—Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC)—do.

HMC offers free vaccinations for children, smoking cessation programs, diet clinics, support for families who have children with special needs and more—the list is extensive. As long as you hold a health card, you are free to take advantage of all these services.

Health card holders can also fill prescriptions at government-run pharmacies at a subsidised rate. Visitors to Qatar who do not hold a valid health card can use HMC healthcare services at a substantially lower price than private sector hospitals, with a visit to the doctor costing just QR30. The price of private-sector doctor visits range from QR150-300 per consultation and can be higher for specialist physicians.

Your HMC medical card also covers surgical procedures—either completely free for emergencies or very heavily subsidized for non-emergencies.

How?

First, you must have a valid Qatar residency permit.

To apply for a health card you will need to supply the following documents with your application:

  • Residency permit (RP)
  • Copy of each applicant's passport
  • Qatar ID (issued when you get your RP)
  • Two photographs (4x3 cm, blue background)
  • QR100 fee
  • Copy of water and electricity bill to confirm your address
  • Children need valid birth certificates and vaccination cards

Where?

Once you have gathered all the documents you need and completed the application form, it is time to find your nearest primary medical centre.

Remember to take all your documents and make sure you go in the morning, as they do not accept health card applications in the afternoon. Early morning is best, as each centre will have a different cut-off time for accepting applications.

Once you have submitted your application forms, your health cards will be issued on the spot. Children born in Qatar do not require a health card and all medical treatment and medicines are free for their first year courtesy of HMC.

Domestic workers

You can also apply for a health card for domestic workers (maids, nannies, etc.) under your sponsorship. The application form is the same and you will need a copy of their Qatar ID. However, you must present the health card of the primary applicant (i.e. the person who sponsors the family) to verify the appropriate health centre location. It is important to note that a water and electricity bill cannot be used for this purpose. The fee for domestic helper health cards is QR50.

Renewing a card

Renewing your health card is a simple process and can be done immediately at all HMC health centres and hospitals. You can also renew your health card online or at any Qatar General Post Office. If renewed online or at the post office, the card will be delivered within two to three weeks of submitting the application.

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