Learn about the Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats in the Maldives
Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is famous for its pristine beaches, warm climate, and white sands. The Maldives has become a significant attraction for expats from all over the world. But before you plan to move to this country, it is essential to know the healthcare system of the country to ensure you do not face any surprising challenges, should you encounter any medical emergencies. Here’s what you need to know about the Maldives healthcare system and insurance options for expats.
Having a small and scattered population, the Maldives has gone through multiple challenges in its healthcare system. Since the healthcare system of the country is continuously evolving, it is a must for you to stay updated with the latest if you plan to move to the Maldives. Currently, the public and private sectors together provide healthcare services all across the Maldives. The Maldivian expats also opt for private or international health insurance, which is cost-effective and includes air evacuation and transportation services.
The CDC has more information on vaccinations to get before traveling to the Maldives.
Overview of Healthcare in the Maldives
During the last three decades, the Maldivian healthcare system has undergone exceptional changes. One of the significant improvements has been massive investments in infrastructure. As per a recent universal health insurance report, a high-quality medical care facility is easily accessible to all the citizens. However, there are only three hospitals in Male with up-to-date medical facilities. Therefore, in case of severe illness and other chronic medical conditions, a patient needs to be evacuated to hospitals located overseas in India or Sri Lanka, where adequate medical care is available.
How the Maldivian Healthcare System Works for Expats
The Maldivian citizens are entitled to get annual medical coverage that is sponsored by the government. On the other hand, employers of foreigners legally working in the country need to pay an upfront fee for the complete healthcare coverage of their expat staff. The healthcare coverage includes emergency evacuation, prescribed medication, inpatient and outpatient services as well as treatment abroad (in special cases). Though the working population in the Maldives have access to receive free healthcare, we advise expats to get private healthcare insurance. It includes emergency evacuation and transfers to hospitals in other countries, in case of severe health concerns.
Public Healthcare in the Maldives
The public healthcare sector operates centrally with a 5-tier hierarchical system: central, regional, atoll, sub-atoll, and island level services. However, patients don’t have to follow this hierarchical pathway and can avail healthcare services at any point. But lack of skilled medical professionals continues to remain an acute concern in the Maldives. A few of them also lack specific necessary medical equipment. The government has been making efforts to improve healthcare service delivery and make essential equipment available at all its facilities.
Private Healthcare in the Maldives
The private healthcare sector has grown significantly in the past decade or so in the Maldives. Currently, there are more than 50 clinics in addition to a few tertiary hospitals across the country. Expats prefer these private facilities because they can get better treatment and have some of the country’s best doctors working there. Private clinics, too, offer a variety of services such as in-patient care, traditional medicine, and other alternative forms of drugs. These clinics usually have one doctor in their laboratories for carrying out simple tests. Most private doctors own these clinics and operate them on a part-time basis.
Emergency Medical Services in the Maldives
In the Maldives, there is no 911 for dealing with medical emergencies. Instead, you can get in touch with the Coast Guard on 191 for maritime emergencies. In case of severe health issues, the concerned patient may reach out to an individual hospital for ambulance services. As the Maldives has insufficient medical amenities, patients need to be evacuated to the nearest possible medical facility, such as one in India, Sri Lanka, or Singapore.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Pharmacies in the Maldives aim to ensure that high-quality medicines are always available. These pharmacies are located on larger and central islands, such as Male. There’s usually an adequate supply of medication in these pharmacies, but specific drugs may occasionally be out of stock.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in the Maldives
Expats traveling to the Maldives must have a comprehensive international health insurance policy that covers medical evacuation and airlifting in case of severe health issues and emergencies. Out of the major insurance plans offered across the globe, those provided by Cigna Global and Allianz International are usually accepted by public and private healthcare sectors in the Maldives. Expats can compare the plans that these companies offer for the Maldives, understand their benefits, and then decide the best plan for them.