Learn About The Tunisia Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats
Located on the Mediterranean coast in North Africa, Tunisia is bordered by Algeria to the west and Libya to the southeast. This year-round destination is mountainous in the north and extends into the Sahara Desert in the south. Tunisia’s incredible heritage attracts travelers and expats to its land and promises a memorable adventure for all visitors. But before you pack your bags and jet off to this North African country, make sure you’re well aware of the healthcare in Tunisia.
Understanding the Tunisia healthcare system will help you decide which international health insurance cover to opt for and how you should plan your expenditure on health during your stay in this African country. Get details about the healthcare scenario in Tunisia by clicking here.
Tunisia’s healthcare system is probably the most up-to-date in Africa, almost as good as some European countries. But the rural areas and the public sector are lagging. It needs extra attention in terms of the quality of care and availability of affordable treatment. Diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis, and cholera no longer pose a threat in the country. It is the non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and hypertension that are now the leading causes of death. But the total life expectancy of the population has gone up to 75 years.
Overview of Healthcare in Tunisia
The public sector supports the Tunisian healthcare system. The country has more than 2,000 primary healthcare centers. It also has around 200 public healthcare centers and more than a hundred private healthcare institutions, including clinics. One can find quality medical care in major cities and the capital, Tunis. Public healthcare is more functional in the larger cities, though it lacks adequate resources.
Vaccinations for hepatitis A and typhoid are mandatory for travelers and expats traveling to Tunisia, but others are recommended – make sure you talk to your doctor. On the other hand, there is no risk of malaria anymore.
Three stakeholders are financing the health sector – the state budget, the social security funds, and the households. All Tunisian citizens are entitled to social security benefits and health insurance. But to receive social security benefits, one must have worked at least 50 days during the last two quarters or have worked for at least 80 days in the previous four quarters.
How the Tunisian Healthcare System Works for Expats
The “Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Maladie” manages the health cover in Tunisia. The cost of care is much higher for expats and travelers. There is no free healthcare for foreign visitors. Despite the high price involved, most expats do not mind bearing the expenses because of the facilities that most medical centers offer. Even the waiting time is short, and visits to the doctor are not cumbersome and time-consuming.
In most places, foreign visitors have to pay for their medical care immediately. That is why all travelers planning on visiting Tunisia must have their international medical insurance in place. A health insurance cover not only helps deal with unforeseeable and costly expenses but also provides ease of access to some of the private clinics found only in the metro cities. Also, many healthcare service providers require that foreign visitors pay in cash. So, always keep proof of medical expenses to ensure your claiming process from the insurance company is smooth.
Public Healthcare in Tunisia
All state-owned medical facilities and hospitals offer free services to all Tunisian citizens. The staff at the public healthcare facilities is fluent in Arabic, French, and English, which makes it easier for patients from across the country to get treated here. But the services available in public healthcare facilities are not at par with those being provided by private medical centers. The government takes care of public healthcare facilities through budget subsidies.
Private Healthcare in Tunisia
In recent years, the private healthcare system in Tunisia has expanded in terms of infrastructure, capacity, and healthcare personnel. The private clinics, especially those in the capital city of Tunis, measure up to the international standards. Some of the clinics have the facilities to perform certain surgeries on patients. A majority of these private clinics have English-speaking doctors, and many of them also converse in Arabic and French.
Emergency Services in Tunisia
Ambulance services in Tunisia are limited to major cities, and in most cases of a medical emergency, air evacuation is highly preferred. You need to call 190 to call an ambulance in the country. Some hospitals in Tunisia will be on the health provider medical network, which you should check before you move there.
Pharmacies in Tunisia
There are lots of pharmacies based all across Tunisia. Most of them are open till late, so you won’t find trouble getting most of the non-prescriptive drugs from them. Many pharmacies also have details about their hours of operation listed outside, so you will always know where you can go to get the medicine you need at a particular time.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats Living in Tunisia
For most expats and global nomads, it is prudent to opt for an international health cover. Factors such as medical history, age, and length of coverage are some aspects one must consider when deciding on health insurance. International health insurance is valid both in the country of origin of the insured and in another country as well, to which they visit. On the contrary, Tunisian health insurance would be valid only locally.
Cigna Global is a famous international health insurance company that offers a comprehensive cover to expats. Another option is the Allianz International Health Insurance. It is an excellent choice for most expatriates in this dynamic North African country. Expat Financial recommends expats to check with both the hospitals they intend to visit for treatment and their insurance company to decide which insurance coverage to purchase.