Posted on March 25, 2014

The National Health Insurance Company (NHIC) is finalising its preparations to launch the second stage of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in late-April 2014.

The second stage will see health insurance coverage expanded to include all Qatari nationals for their basic health needs. When fully launched by 2015, the NHIS will provide universal health coverage to all people living in Qatar. Nationals, non-nationals and even visitors to the country will have access to a range of public and private healthcare providers, offering the people access to more quality and choice for their healthcare needs. The first stage already covers Qatari females aged 12 and over for gynaecology, obstetrics, maternity and related women’s health issues.

As part of the preparations to launch Stage 2 of the scheme, the National Health Insurance Company has opened the doors to its first Customer Service Centre for members of the NHIS. Located on the sixth floor of Amwal Tower in West Bay, the new Customer Service Centre offers insurance scheme members an additional level of support alongside the already operational call centre. Customer Service Centre staff are on hand to assist members with any queries they may have, including general information about the scheme and its roll-out, coverage, member rights and the provider network. Qatari national women eligible under Stage 1 of the scheme will be able to make immediate use of the Customer Service Centre. The working hours of the Customer Service Centre are from 8am to 5pm on Sundays through to Thursdays.

The Customer Service Centre compliments the scheme’s call centre available on telephone number 4020 8444 and will maximise simplicity and convenience for those who prefer face-to-face customer service interaction. Service center staff will also be responsible for receiving and following up on any issues or complaints that members wish to file

Dr Faleh Mohamed Hussain Ali, acting CEO of the NHIC commented: “The countdown has begun and we are entering the final phase of preparations for the launch of Stage 2 of the National Health Insurance Scheme which will see services expanded to include all Qatari nationals for the full range of basic health services.”

“Member communications and strong customer support are the cornerstone of the National Health Insurance Company’s ability to provide high quality services,” he added.

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Groundwork for the launch of the next stage included a series of background work on structuring the core infrastructural elements for the scheme, including discussions with providers. In addition, several of the learnings from Stage 1 are being incorporated into the next stage to ensure as smooth an introduction as possible. “Learning from each stage is a key reason for the staged rollout of the NHIS,” explained Dr Faleh. “The staged rollout also allows time for the sector to cope with the system demands of rollout of the scheme.”

The NHIS is being introduced in four stages between 2013 and 2015. Stage 1, launched in July 2013, covers Qatari females aged 12 and over for gynaecology, obstetrics, maternity and related women’s health issues. Subsequent stages will expand services to cover the majority of specialties, beginning with all Qatari nationals in late April 2014 followed by a phased roll-out for non-nationals in 2015.

The scheme forms a key milestone in meeting the objectives of the Human Development pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030, which aims for a healthy, productive society and calls for healthcare to be accessible to all, and Goal 6 of the National Health Strategy which focuses on the establishment of social health insurance as part of bringing greater efficiency and transparency to the operation of the Qatari health care sector.

Stage 1 of the NHIS includes a high quality network of public and private healthcare providers, including HMC Women’s Hospital, Al Emadi Hospital, Al Ahli Hospital, Doha Clinic Hospital, Al Wakra Hospital, Al Khor Hospital, the Cuban Hospital and Al Hayat Medical Centre.

“We have an excellent mix of medical facilities that are part of the NHIS provider network under Stage 1 and we will be adding more quality public and private providers during Stage 2,” Dr. Faleh explained. “The NHIS network is open to all providers in Qatar who want to join, provided these meet our strict rules criteria to ensure the best service possible for the Scheme’s beneficiaries.”

Information and updates on the scheme are available at the NHIC website Members can also call the NHIC call centre on telephone 4020 8444.