Bhutan Healthcare System Information and Global Health Insurance Options for Expats
A small landlocked country between China and India, Bhutan tops the list when it comes to Gross National Happiness. Under the rule of a monarch for over a hundred years, Bhutan suffered its share of isolation until the 1970s when the country opened up to the world outside. Although Bhutan is a developing country, over half of its population remains below the poverty line. The undeveloped nature makes Bhutan healthcare system a matter of concern and mostly inaccessible for natives as well as expats & global nomads. Over many years, the country has seen a boom in the tourism sector, which has contributed to the GDP of the country. This serene and peace-loving country is a great destination for expatriates who seek to enjoy the happiness index in South Asia.
People traveling to Bhutan for leisure or those moving to the country for work purposes will undoubtedly be curious about how the local healthcare system works, how applicable and necessary it is to have international private health insurance and how one can avail it. Becoming an expat in Bhutan or even traveling to the country is not as easy as the number of visitors is carefully monitored by the government.
The culturally dynamic country is home to traditionally prepared food, historical sites, and natural scenic beauty. While the experience, generally speaking, is amazing for both visitors and expats, you must inquire about how you can access affordable and standard healthcare just in case you fall ill. Being an ex-pat, you must read on for a summary of useful information about healthcare and insurance.
Overview of Healthcare in Bhutan
Since the 1970s, the Bhutan government has offered free universal healthcare to all its citizens. Barring one private health clinic in the capital of Thimphu, there are no private physicians or clinics. There are more than 30 hospitals across Bhutan. Except Gasa, every district (known as dzongkhags) has at least one government hospital. Thimphu has 5 hospitals. The districts of Chukha, Samtse and Trashigang have 3 hospitals each. Each district has several smaller healthcare centers and medical facilities, while an indigenous hospital facility is available at Thimphu.
While free universal healthcare guarantees that everyone receives the same standard of treatment, it is also disadvantageous at times as the doctors are overworked, and there is a lack of medicines and specialists that can make treating complicated illnesses, cancer and neurosurgery in Bhutan a problem. Patients need to be transported to India and Thailand for better medical facilities. At remote locations of Bhutan, even accessing basic health services is not easy.
How the Healthcare System Works for Expats
Tourists and expats traveling to Bhutan are strongly advised to procure an international private health insurance policy. In case of a serious injury or an illness that requires a medical evacuation, the expenses can easily go beyond USD 100,000. To avoid having to face heavy medical expenses, expats are encouraged to opt for private health insurance policies. Factors like abysmal healthcare standards and poor road conditions in the mountainous terrain affect the availability and accessibility of standard medical care. The landslides, blind curves, steep drop-offs, and falling rocks are constant threats for commuters on the roads of Bhutan.
Pharmacies and Emergency Services in Bhutan
Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Referral Hospital in Thimphu is the best health facility in Bhutan where local patients, tourists and expats, can avail basic medical treatment along with critical surgical and emergency treatment free of cost. There are general practitioners, specialists, labs, and operating rooms, as well as CT and MRI diagnosis equipment.
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Bhutan
If you are a global nomad or ex-pat living in Bhutan, you must obtain a global medical insurance policy that will cover you within the country and outside too. To be assured of different types of coverage in Bhutan, you need to have an Evacuation Coverage, Expat Life and Disability Insurance, International Health Insurance, Group Expat Insurance Plans, and a Travel Insurance.
You should look for the best private international health insurance plan in Bhutan that covers all your contingency medical costs. A lot of insurance companies offer various comprehensive plans that would suit your needs. You can also sign up for an insurance plan with Expat Financial to enjoy top-notch medical assistance in Bhutan and get access to optimum medical care.