Learn about the French Polynesia Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats
Located in the South Pacific Ocean, French Polynesia comprises of a group of islands. With a population of less than 300,000, this primarily French-speaking island is also home to two famous islands, namely Tahiti and Bora Bora. Expats moving to this country love its remote location, pristine beaches, and natural beauty. Here’s what you need to know about the French Polynesia healthcare system and insurance options for expats.
As an expat, you can expect top-notch healthcare facilities in French Polynesia. However, obtaining an international health insurance policy with evacuation coverage before arriving here can be the best bet for you. In case of serious medical conditions, expats may require air evacuation to Australia, Europe, or the USA.
More health information about French Polynesia is available at CDC.
Overview of Healthcare in French Polynesia
In general, the standard of healthcare facilities in French Polynesia is quite good. However, its islands with less population may or may not even have the basic facilities. Numerous doctors and dentists in the country are also in private practice.
The private clinics also offer standard medical and laboratory facilities apart from consultations for specialized services. Usually, the fees for private specialists are costly, with long waiting periods. For most of the medical treatments, you need to make a direct payment.
How the French Polynesia Healthcare System Works for Expats
Papeete, the capital city of French Polynesia, has a few major public hospitals and private clinics that are of international standards. If you have serious health issues, you may get evacuated to Tahiti. Most of the islands within the country have well-stocked pharmacies for common medications.
Public Healthcare in French Polynesia
Interestingly, the entire French Polynesian population has social health insurance. Apart from The Centre Hospitalier de la Polynésie Française (national referral hospital), you will find public hospitals in Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea, and Nuku Hiva islands. Altogether, there are 115 public healthcare facilities in the country. There is a government clinic in every island apart from physicians who work in private practice.
Private Healthcare in French Polynesia
You will find many doctors and consultants who are into private practice across the country. The standard of private hospitals and laboratory facilities is much better than public facilities. Expats have easy access to obstetrics, gynecology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and general surgery. Finding well-trained private dentists and opticians is easy too. The private healthcare costs in French Polynesia are almost similar to Australia. The major hospitals across the country may accept credit card payments. However, smaller hospitals in remote locations would prefer cash.
Emergency Medical Services in French Polynesia
Contact information during an emergency in French Polynesia:
Ambulance – 68915
Fire – 689120
Police – 68920
If you are from the EU, you should note that you won’t get the desired health coverage through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Ideally, you should have adequate global health insurance if you are moving to French Polynesia. It would assist you in meeting some medical costs in case of emergency treatments and medical evacuation.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Common medicines are readily available in pharmacies across French Polynesia. However, private pharmacies don’t have the legal rights to dispense medication without prescriptions from a local practitioner. Ideally, you should stock up and carry an adequate quantity of medicines with you when you move to the island country.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in French Polynesia
As an expat in French Polynesia, you should opt for international health insurance that also includes medical evacuation coverage. The insurance policy will provide reimbursement for hospital or medical costs incurred in various hospitals across the country. Evacuation cover is especially important if you are residing in a remote island like Bora Bora. Expats can also go for global life and disability insurance as it is worth the investment.