By Expatica

When living in or traveling to a new country, it’s important to be familiar with how the local healthcare works. Thankfully, Qatar boasts one of the best and fastest-growing in the Gulf region and ranks in the world’s top five in terms of quality of care. To help get you familiarized, here are 5 key things to know about healthcare in Qatar, courtesy of Expatica.

1. Everyone in Qatar can access healthcare

All residents with a valid ID and residence permit, including expats, can access public healthcare in Qatar. The system consists of free or subsidized public healthcare. Expats can access state healthcare services at a subsidized rate by purchasing the HMC health card, which costs around $27. Alternatively, they can choose to take out private health insurance and have access to a range of private healthcare facilities. Private insurance will also cover the costs that are not met through the state-subsidized scheme. However, the good news is that all employers in Qatar are legally required to provide healthcare for their employees. So if you are moving to Qatar for work, you should be covered from day one.

2. Private healthcare offers more choice

While the public healthcare system in Qatar is quite efficient, private healthcare brings added advantages. This includes the freedom to choose specialists who will treat you and benefit from shorter waiting times to schedule a consultation. Because of this, around 10% of the local population in Qatar has private health insurance. To ensure they have the best access to healthcare possible, many expats in Qatar buy private health insurance in addition to their public healthcare insurance. Check out Expatica’s health insurance quotes page for more information.

3. The Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) operate public healthcare

The public healthcare system in Qatar is operated by the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). This is the country’s premier non-profit healthcare provider and is associated with the Ivy League Cornell University. The HMC runs the country’s public medical facilities, as well as the national ambulance service, and a home healthcare service. HMC manages 12 hospitals, including nine specialist hospitals and three community hospitals. It has received several prestigious accreditations since 2011 and has announced ambitious plans to expand capacity across its network leading to 2030.

4. SEHA is the national health insurance scheme

The national health insurance scheme is called SEHA and this is run by the National Health Insurance Company. The scheme provides mandatory health insurance coverage and allows patients to choose from a range of participating public or private providers. The payment for their treatment will be met by the insurance funding body. Most importantly, the scheme covers a range of women’s healthcare such as gynaecology, obstetrics, and maternity care, which is good news if you are planning on having a baby in Qatar. However, the scheme does not cover over-the-counter medicines, alternative medicine, or cosmetic surgery, so this is something to bear in mind.

5. Dial 999 in the event of an emergency

In an emergency, you should dial 999 in Qatar. This number connects you to the local police, fire, and ambulance services. Fortunately, the emergency line is open 24 hours a day and offers services in multiple languages; including Arabic, English, French, Chinese, Tagalog, and Urdu. Response times are generally very quick, and most of the time, the authorities will arrive within 15 minutes or less. If you call an ambulance, it should arrive in 8 minutes and will have one EMT and an intermediate paramedic, one of whom speaks Arabic. You can find all the emergency numbers you might need on Expatica.