Learn About The Moroccan Healthcare System For Expatriates
If you are considering making a move to Morocco or already living there as a global nomad, take time to learn about the Moroccan healthcare system for expats. It is also essential to learn about the different options of medical insurance available. Like many other countries, Morocco has a two-tiered medical system. The universal public healthcare system co-exists with the private healthcare system. While the public healthcare system is entirely dismal, the private system makes you pay through your nose.
Morocco is a culturally blessed country. Located in North Africa, the country is distinguished by its ethnic group of Berbers, the influence of Arabs, and the European culture. Being an African country, Morocco is certainly not what you imagine it to be. The strong historical glue of apartheid and colonialism binds Morocco with other countries like Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt. But they have more commonalities with the Middle East owing to their Arab population than with the other African countries. Morocco is a country of contrasts. It is home to the Sahara Desert, vaunts its snow-capped mountains, shares its coastlines with the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Overview of Healthcare in Morocco for Expats
If you are ill and need a checkup urgently, there are general physicians around your area to address your concerns. While some physicians allow walk-in(s) on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, others meet only by appointments. For diagnostic purposes such as a blood test or an x-ray, one has to visit an authorized lab or clinic. The physicians are responsible for guiding you through the process and tell you where to go. After completing your prognosis, you will wait for a day to get your reports. Then, you will bring it back to your consulting physician for interpretation.
Assurance Maladie Obligatoire (AMO) is the health insurance scheme in Morocco, providing healthcare to employees from public companies. The private healthcare system covers those working for private companies. Those who are unemployed or underemployed receive free medical care from public centers under the AMO scheme.
How the Moroccan Healthcare System Works for Expats
Although it is a developing country, the Moroccan healthcare system for expats does not match to Western standard. It may surprise you as a global nomad to learn about inadequate medical care in the country. The health insurance scheme has been in effect since 2005, but only 30% of the Moroccan population has health insurance coverage.
As a digital nomad, take precautions when seeking care from public hospitals and clinics. The squalid conditions, absence of quality doctors, and lack of necessary medical facilities can be daunting.
With the AMO scheme, the private healthcare infrastructural facilities are much closer to Western standards. But, you will be paying an excessive amount of fee. Even private doctors are only limited only to big cities. Therefore, we advise global nomads to opt for international healthcare insurance. It will ensure you receive an excellent level of care while mitigating the costs.
Public Healthcare in Morocco
The social protection and public healthcare system via AMO provides coverage for all those who seek care for sickness, maternity, invalidity, and retirement. Those who are incredibly needy, have access to the Medical Assistance Scheme, which is based upon the principles of national solidarity and social welfare. Even those who cannot contribute any money towards the AMO benefit treatment offered in public healthcare centers.
The AMO provides coverage to a broad range of health services such as pregnancy, childbirth, post-natal care, optical care, paramedics, oral health, radiology, and medical imaging apart from general medicine, surgical specialties, and laboratory tests. However, it does not cover occupational diseases and accidents at work.
Private Healthcare in Morocco
The private healthcare providers are expanding the standard of medical infrastructure and the quality of trained staff. According to the US Department of Commerce, there are only 360 private healthcare hospitals and clinics operating in Morocco and over 12,000 doctors working in the segment. Until 2015, only doctors and practicing physicians were permitted to own private clinics. But a change in legislation and policy, now, allows even foreign individuals to establish clinics.
Emergency medical services in Morocco
Although for the past few years, the subject of emergency care has become a topic of interest for the Government of Morocco, there is, surprisingly, little published information about it. However, in case you need an ambulance, you can dial 141.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Pharmacies marked with a green-colored ‘plus’ sign are easy to identify in Morocco. But not everything can be bought over the counter. Medications like antibiotics do not require a prescription. So, if you know what to ask for, you are likely to get it without a prescription unless it is a narcotic drug or a controlled medication that needs to be administered under medical supervision.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Morocco
In conclusion, the Moroccan healthcare system for expats is still developing. With the government initiative in reforming the social welfare process, it will strengthen the quality of services provided to the citizens and expatriates alike. Even though the healthcare system and medical facilities cater to global citizens, only employers offer medical insurance.
You will be making multiple visits to the insurance agency to get compensation for medical care. Therefore, consider opting for an international health insurance plan. You should also ensure it covers overseas medical evacuation, life-saving, or specialized medical treatment in the event of a medical emergency or severe illness.