Healthcare information for expatriates in the Caribbean
The Caribbean is a region of the Americas consisting of 700 islands. A tourist hot spot, only less than ten percent of the total islands are inhabited. The chain of islands surrounds the Caribbean Sea. Up north, the Gulf of Mexico borders the region, while the Straits of Florida and the Northern Atlantic Ocean lies to the east and northeast. On the other hand, the coastline of South America is situated down south. With over 43 million in population, the Caribbean has strong cultural and historical connections to Africa.
The Caribbean enjoys a tropical climate. Islands in the region vary from tropical rainforest, tropical monsoon, and tropical savanna. Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico have a tropical rainforest climate, whereas, Cuba and Colombia have a seasonally dry tropical savanna climate. The wet season is from May to November, while the dry and sunny season is from December to April. It is important to note that hurricane season falls from June till November. However, the northern islands see it in August and September.
Just like the climate, medical facilities vary from island to island. The Bahamas is known for its excellent healthcare since most of the retired expats live here. Not only that, it is a hub for most tourists and Westerners. Hence, expats can rely on quality healthcare here. On the other hand, Cuba thrives as a medical tourism industry. You’re likely to find better care in the capital city of Havana. However, when it comes to rural areas, the standards may vary. Other islands like Jamaica, has relatively poor medical facilities in both the private and public sectors. It is generally not up to par with Western standards.
Healthcare Systems in Various Caribbean Countries for Expatriates
Understanding Caribbean Healthcare System for Expatriates
The Caribbean has a long way to go when it comes to a proper healthcare system. The World Health Organization states that Jamaica is 53rd in the world when it comes to the effectiveness of its health care system. That means there’s only one doctor for every 2000 patients. But countries like the Dominican Republic can vary. It’s private medical facilities and treatments are similar to those in developed countries.
With varying degrees of medical standards, expats, digital nomads, and global citizens planning to move to the Caribbean should consider getting comprehensive healthcare insurance. It is also essential to always have cash in hand as some hospitals and clinics may require an upfront payment for treatments. Additionally, you should also carry enough money to cover evacuation or repatriation if necessary. Of course, it can be reimbursed through your employer or insurance company. But ensure your policy covers these factors when purchasing international health insurance.
Emergency Assistance in the Caribbean:
Barbados: 115, 119 (Ambulance), 113, 119 (Fire), and 112, 119 (Police)
Cayman Islands: 911
Costa Rica: 911
Haiti: 118 (Ambulance), 114 (Police)
St. Kitts & Nevis: 911
Health Insurance in Caribbean for International Citizens
International citizens looking to travel or move to the Caribbean should seek global insurance coverage. Several insurance companies offer international health care plans that cover treatment at private hospitals. As an expat in the Caribbean, you should research the best global health insurance policies and choose the one that suits you. From our extensive experience, most expats prefer Cigna Global Medical due to its extensive plans and services. The Allianz global health plan is also an excellent choice for expats in the Caribbean. An important tip is to always secure the insurance before moving to another country. It is the easiest way to mitigate any unforeseen or unpleasant situation afterward.