Posted on October 10, 2015

Family and individual expenditure on health in Qatar is among the lowest in the world, thanks to easy access to hugely subsidised government healthcare services, Supreme Council of Health (SCH) data shows, said The Peninsula. Qatar is on a par with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, including some of the most advanced nations in the world.

A report by the SCH reveals that family expenditure on health in Qatar has fallen by 20.2 percent in one year between 2012 and 2013 — from QR1.29bn to QR1.03bn. This is in contrast to a steady rise in government expenditure on health from QR9.41bn in 2012 to QR12.64bn in 2014, a 34.3 percent increase. The direct health expenditure of individuals fell from QR759 in 2012 to QR515 in 2013, Al Sharq reports, quoting from the report.

The report has attributed the fall to the vast coverage of primary healthcare services in the country. This has led to an increase in the number of people using health cards issued by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Healthcare Corporation (PHCC) to avail of government healthcare services at nominal fees. Another reason is expansion of health insurance cover for citizens and expatriates. Data from SCH’s National Health Accounts of 2013 shows that health insurance cover by companies increased by 13 percent between 2012 and 2013.

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The third reason is implementation of National Health Insurance Scheme — Seha — which covered all Qatari females aged above 12 in 2013 and all Qatari citizens by April 2014. The report shows direct health expenditure of individuals has been going down continuously. During 2012-2013, Qataris spent 2.5 percent of their total expenditure on health while expatriate single workers spent 1.5 percent against 0.5 percent by expatriate families. The low premium of the public health insurance system is a major indicator of easy access to healthcare, as it enables citizens and expatriates to avail of services at lower cost, said the daily, citing the report.

Expatriate blue-collar workers are among the biggest beneficiaries enjoying the lowest health expenditure due to access to free healthcare and increasing availability of clinics at work sites. The OECD countries have implemented measures to cut expenditure but the Qatari health strategy is not focused on controlling expenditure but providing quality. Funding mechanism in the coming years will function from the position of cost management, supported by the power of using advanced healthcare technology, said the daily.