For 100 Riyals any visitor can purchase an annual Qatar Medical Card which will provide basic medical treatment at the state-run Hamad General Hospital. The Hamad is the only hospital in Qatar with the facilities and back-up to deal with major complex medical treatments such as Dialysis and transplants. The Hamad Hospital is also able to deal with emergency treatment and childbirth. However anecdotal evidence suggests that there are long waiting lists meaning that non-emergency treatment could take several months.
There are four main private hospitals in Doha; The American Hospital, The Doha Clinic, Al Emadi Hospital and the Al Ahili Hospital. You can see exactly what they have to offer by looking at their respective websites.
Several companies, both western and Qatari, offer conventional private medical insurance in Qatar and the wider middle-east. Such companies include AXA Gulf, InterGlobal, Alico, Cigna, QIC, Bupa International and Allianz World-Wide. Some of these insurers have regional offices in Doha and some do not. However most have direct billing arrangements with the private hospitals concerned. Although no official statistics currently exist AXA Gulf is considered to be the largest player in the country due to its’ many contracts within the Oil and Gas industries.
There is a growing movement towards Takaful medical insurance which is based on local insurance products, sold in an Islamic way. This is similar to the western Mutual Insurance where there are fees and charges for administering the risk pool and any profits are re-distributed to policy holders.
As the population of Qatar is projected to expand to four million people in ten years, from 1.7 million currently, the provision of medical care is likely to be a key issue. The Government has recently announced that medical insurance will be made compulsory in 2012, as is the case in Saudi Arabia.