Learn About the Honduras Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats
A Central American country, Honduras is officially called the Republic of Honduras (Spanish: República de Honduras). It is a travel destination that is often ignored due to its unsafe image. After going through almost a decade of violence and uprising, the nation is slowly getting back to being normal again. Here’s what you need to know about the Honduras healthcare system and medical insurance options for expats.
The healthcare system in Honduras is not at par with most of the Western nations. The challenges ahead are significant, but things have started to look a bit positive in the past few years. But since the country suffers from high levels of poverty, the medical services may take some time to stabilize.
The quality of staff, healthcare facilities, and supplies in the public medical facilities leave a lot to be desired. The fragile public infrastructure forces many expats and citizens who can afford it to seek medical care in private hospitals. Since private treatment is costly, expats can procure an international health insurance policy before arriving in the country.
More health information about the country is available at CDC.
Overview of Healthcare
The health system in Honduras consists of the private and public sectors. The Ministry of Health is directly responsible for providing public health services to the majority of the population. As of now, about 18% of the population has no access to healthcare in the country.
After many years of dealing with emergency situations and political uncertainties, Honduras has now begun to focus on various development schemes. The country is working towards the formation of national response teams (ENR) and improving its technical capacity. Some progress has been made in these areas but there is still a long way to go.
Poverty is a major issue with the citizens of Honduras. Almost 66% of the population live in poverty. Quality healthcare is hardly present in rural areas, and it keeps a major part of the population bereft of healthcare. Most medical institutions often lack the basic requirements.
The doctor to patient ratio is not good, with less than one physician available per 1000 people. Though primary healthcare is insufficient, almost 90% of the children have been successfully immunized in Honduras.
How the Honduran Healthcare System Works for Expats?
There are quite a few options for expats living in Honduras regarding healthcare and the cost that it incurs. Expats may have to pay upfront for not-so-major medical issues. However, the treatments for major ailments are costly. To take care of these medical expenses, it is prudent to opt for an insurance plan that covers most of the costs. For expats, an international private medical insurance plan is the best option. Most of these plans include emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits.
Certain medical facilities such as the CEMESA facility in San Pedro Sula and the Honduras Medical Center in Tegucigalpa are of superior quality. The foreign visitors and expats can visit these centers for medical care and treatment.
The quality of care in public hospitals is not of a high standard as compared to what is offered by private hospitals. This makes it important for expats and global citizens to buy health insurance before traveling to Honduras. This is especially important if they have an ongoing medical condition. The insurance cover takes care of the costs of medical care in private institutions. Expats should ensure that their policy also covers extradition in case of a medical emergency.
The public sector facilities do not have adequately trained medical professionals. Poor management, weak government leadership, and inferior quality human resource administration have almost ruined the public healthcare sector. Almost 90% of the population does not have any kind of health insurance.
As public hospitals do not have proper funding, there is more faith in the private sector medical care. Expats have to pay out of pocket for most private sector services. Almost 1,200 outlets serve as private healthcare facilities, including medical centers, clinics, laboratories, and pharmacies.
In there larger cities, private facilities own most of the country’s high-tech laboratory and diagnostic imaging services. People in the urban areas do receive better medical facilities, but a major chunk of the services are available in developed cities only.
Emergency Services and Pharmacies
Due to the underfunding of public healthcare, here is a shortage of medicines in Honduras. Travel whenever possible with your prescription medicines so that you do not have to depend on replacements. Always carry your medicines in their original packaging along with your doctor’s prescription.
Institutions providing pre-hospital emergency care in Honduras include the Honduran Red Cross, the Emergency Preparedness Committee (COPECO), and the Honduran Fire Department. Treatments that require diagnostic methods, such as CAT scans and MRI are not easily available in Honduras.
While public hospitals can take care of basic, routine medical cases, the cases of extremely complex treatments need to be referred to private doctors. Those who can afford it, travel to neighboring countries for their treatment.
Diseases such as Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Malaria, and Zika are still prevalent in Honduras. Make sure you consume only sealed commercial water containers (bottles).
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats Living in Honduras
The absence of reliable access to healthcare for expats in Honduras has increased the significance of health insurance plans manifold. Procuring an international health insurance plan is the best bet for expats in Honduras. The plan should include emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits. Select the most popular international insurance plans offered by Cigna Global and Allianz International.