The Healthcare Services Law No. 22 of 2021 (the Insurance Law) is Qatar’s mandatory supplemental health Insurance Law that requires employers to provide health insurance for non-Qatari employees and their families, as well as foreign visitors, for the duration of their stay. The Law became effective on May 4, 2022; however, the Law is not yet being enforced rigorously, which will probably change after the FIFA world cup (played from November 20 to December 18, 2022) for obvious reasons with the expected 1.5 million visitors,” says Anthony Cerchiai of Nexus, Asinta’s employee benefits consulting Partner in the Middle East. He adds, “Because of the minimum premiums and cover levels, this will be a loss leader for many insurance providers.”
The Law establishes coverage-related obligations for employers, sponsors, beneficiaries, and insurance service providers. For instance, evidence of coverage is required to:
- Employ an expatriate
- Issue or renew an entry visa for an expatriate or visitor
- Grant or renew a residence permit
At their expense, employers must enroll their non-Qatari employees and their family members into health insurance policies offered by insurance companies registered with the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar. In addition, they must provide proof of such insurance coverage upon renewal of their employees’ residency.
If employers fail to maintain continuous and valid insurance coverage, they must pay for the care, and these costs are not recoverable.
Insurance companies must register to be part of this program and implement the best systems and procedures to guarantee timely and efficient services. They must also contract with healthcare services providers in the State of Qatar and pay the value of the healthcare services provided to the policyholders, employers, and beneficiaries per the agreements executed between both parties.
The Insurance Law is expected to be followed by executive regulations that will further define conditions and requirements for recruiters, employers, and individuals subject to this Law. In addition, the executive regulations will set the terms and conditions of insurance policies and contractual arrangements for insurance services providers with employers and healthcare service providers.
Insurance brokers must provide information, advice, and recommendations to beneficiaries, employers, and recruiters regarding the best insurance coverage and value offered by carriers with complete impartiality and independence.
Individuals and companies must comply with this Insurance Law whether they are recruiters, sponsors, insurance services providers, brokers, or healthcare providers.