Getting a Hamad Medical Card
Settling into life in Qatar means ticking off lots of things on the To Do list. For expats and their families, one of the most important things on that list involves sorting out healthcare.
With a healthcare system that is rated as being among the best in the Middle East, Qatar offers modern healthcare facilities, cutting edge medical equipment and highly trained specialists.
So, what do you need to know about accessing that healthcare system?
Private Health Insurance
Treatment within the private healthcare system in Qatar can be pretty expensive, so expats usually choose to take out private health insurance, either with their overseas provider, or within Qatar.
In some cases, an employer may provide private health insurance for their overseas employees as part of their contract.
Public healthcare in Qatar is managed by the Hamad Medical Corporation, a government-run non-profit organisation with a network of hospitals and clinics throughout Qatar.
The HMC provides free treatment to Qataris, and heavily subsidised treatment to expat residents, with a full range of services on offer, including medical, dental and optometry services.
While all visitors to Qatar can attend HMC hospitals and clinics, only those with a valid HMC medical card – also known as a Hamad medical card – can enjoy subsidised treatment at a much lower cost.
Expats with an HMC card can also benefit from subsidised prescriptions at government-run pharmacies, free emergency surgical procedures and subsidised non-emergency surgical procedures.
Getting a Hamad Medical Card
When applying for your HMC medical card, you must first find out which primary health care centre you are zoned for, and then attend that health care centre with all relevant paperwork.
Bear in mind that in order to apply for an HMC medical card, you must first have your Qatar residence permit.
- Residence permit,
- Qatar ID (issued with residence permit),
- Copy of each applicant’s passport,
- Two photographs (4x3cm with blue background),
- QAR100 fee
- Copy of utility bill (water and electricity) to confirm address,
- Valid birth certificate and vaccination card for each child on the application.
As health card applications are not accepted in the afternoon, it’s best to arrive early in the morning – as this can also help to avoid unnecessarily long wait times. It’s also worth noting that cash is not accepted – payments must be made using a credit or debit card.
After the application form has been completed and all documentation handed over, the card will either be issued immediately, or you may need to return a few days later to collect the card.
The card is the same size as the Qatari driving license, and contains your ID number, nationality, photo and date of issue.
Time to renew? Card renewals can be done online via the Hukoomi Qatar government portal, or in person at all HMC hospitals. A lost card that is still valid costs QAR100 for a replacement, while lost cards that have expired cost QAR200 for a replacement.