Learn About the Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats in Trinidad and Tobago
Originally a Spanish and later a British colony, Trinidad and Tobago became a republic in 1976. A beautiful set of Caribbean islands, Trinidad and Tobago is primarily an industrial hub. The economy’s major products are petroleum and natural gas. Trinidad and Tobago have a diverse population. Portuguese, Chinese, African, Indian, and Lebanese expat communities live all over Trinidad and Tobago. With a cosmopolitan environment and English as the official language, expats find it easier to settle in. Here’s what you need to know about the Trinidad and Tobago healthcare.
Moving to Trinidad and Tobago is fraught with challenges. Hence, it is important to know about the different aspects of lifestyle prevalent on these islands, especially pertaining to healthcare. We advise expats to secure an optimum international health insurance plan that covers your health-related needs in this country. Plus, this policy will also cover you globally.
It is the Ministry of Health (MoH) that leads the healthcare sector in Trinidad and Tobago. The universal healthcare system in the country operates in a two-tier fashion. The primary tier is the public sector that provides basic medical services financed by the government. The secondary tier is the private sector which offers people, who have adequate funds, the ability to obtain medical services that go beyond the coverage provided by the publically financed sector.
Overview of Healthcare System
The Regional Health Authorities play a direct role in running the health facilities in Trinidad and Tobago. This change happened after the passing of the Regional Health Authorities Act No. 5 in 1994. The MoH is instrumental in playing the administrative and regulatory role in the system. They ensure the facilities are running smoothly. It sets up targets and policies for different regions based on the estimated healthcare needs. Furthermore, citizens of the country have access to free public healthcare services. The tourists and expats need to make an upfront payment before availing these medical services. To prevent themselves from paying exorbitantly, they must opt for an international insurance cover. Additionally, the CDC has information on the vaccinations you should get before traveling to the country.
How the Trinidad and Tobago Healthcare Works for Expats
The Ministry of Health is an entity that plays a crucial role in overseeing the overall health of the entire population. This national entity ensures that all the organizations offering medical services conform to the safety standards. While the public healthcare services are free to all residents, private healthcare can prove to be quite expensive for expats. But that doesn’t hinder them from relying on private healthcare for their medical requirements. Most expats opt for private health insurance for themselves as well as their families to mitigate and balance a major part of the medical costs.
Public Healthcare in Trinidad and Tobago
The public healthcare facilities take care of the people of Trinidad and Tobago in a primary way. All the major hospitals are located within Trinidad, while Tobago has only one major hospital due to its small landmass and even smaller population. Outside the major cities of Trinidad and Tobago, healthcare facilities are average and not up to Western standards. Medical care at public facilities is significantly inadequate in terms of supplies and medications. Similarly, ambulance services are also poor in certain areas. In case of a serious medical emergency, medical evacuation is the best option.
Private Healthcare in Trinidad and Tobago
There are only four private medical hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago including nursery homes. They are sufficient for treating common health issues and ailments, and comparatively better than the treatment and facilities available at the public facilities. But unlike the public hospitals, the private facilities are not capable of handling serious illnesses and injuries, especially the ones that require long-term care. In the event of an emergency, a person seeking medical care at private facilities will have to pay before receiving any medical assistance. Tourists and expats are also expected to pay upfront when seeking care at a private medical facility. It is, therefore, important that expats traveling to Trinidad and Tobago obtain an international health insurance plan, especially one that covers medical evacuation to another country.
Emergency Medical Services in Trinidad and Tobago
Ambulance services in Trinidad and Tobago can be reached by dialing 811. The patient is usually transported to the Accident and Emergency Department of the nearest public medical facility for immediate medical attention.
The citizens are advised to use the ambulance facility only in case of life-threatening incidents, that include allergic reactions, breathlessness, asthmatic attacks, burns, excessive vomiting, gunshot wounds, high fever in babies and toddlers, head injuries, ingestion of a toxic substance, overdose of pills, knife wounds, profuse bleeding, vehicle accidents, and severe pain in the chest or abdominal area.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Generic drugs are widely available across Trinidad and Tobago. However, there is a need to implement measures to appropriately regulate over-the-counter medications. Online pharmacies in Trinidad and Tobago have redefined the way in which important life-saving drugs are sold. It deals with prescribed medicines, cosmetics, OTC products, supplements, food products, and many more.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Trinidad and Tobago
Digital nomads and expats contemplating a move to the country are strongly advised to buy an international health insurance policy. They can select a plan offered by leading international insurance companies such as Cigna Global, or Allianz. But before purchasing the policy, one must ensure that it provides for medical evacuation and airlifting in the event of a serious medical emergency. Get in touch with Expat Financial for consultation on private health insurance plans.