Brunei Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats
Brunei is a small nation on the island of Borneo. This country is famous for its rainforests, beaches, and oil and gas reserves. Plus, Brunei has one of the best healthcare systems in Asia and also the world. Offering one of the highest standards of living globally, lucrative packages, and a tax-free income, Brunei is an attractive hotspot for both expats. We advise expats to opt for international health insurance before traveling to Brunei. Furthermore, it is also vital to ensure there’s coverage for medical evacuation. Here’s what you need to know about the Brunei healthcare system and insurance options for expats.
Overview of Healthcare System in Brunei
Brunei has sufficient health facilities and hospitals to handle most emergencies. Locals get access to public medical care mostly for free, while expats can avail the same at affordable rates. Several clinics and care facilities in Brunei staff expats.
The Ministry of Health Brunei (MOHB) monitors the functioning of four government hospitals and 60 health centers and hospitals in the country. Achieving a landmark in healthcare, the MOHB has created a ‘one-patient, one-record’ system. This system allows every citizen’s health record to be accessible to physicians anywhere and anytime. Additionally, you won’t have to face any communication challenges in Brunei as most doctors, nurses, and pharmacists can converse in English.
On the other hand, it is essential to visit your doctor before moving to any country. The CDC has information on vaccinations that you should get before traveling to Brunei.
How the Brunei Healthcare System Works for Expats
The expat community in Brunei makes up around 40% of the country’s population. The Health Ministry deals with all facets of healthcare in Brunei to provide a better quality of life to all its citizens.
Brunei’s healthcare services are classified into two major categories, namely the Directorate of Medical Services and the Directorate of Health Services. While the Directorate of Medical Services looks into areas such as nursing, hospital, laboratory, dental, renal, and pharmaceutical services, the Directorate of Health Services monitors environmental health, community health, and scientific devices.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Health is working on long-term goals to induct healthcare professionals into different specializations via seminars and workshops, and through training courses organized locally and overseas. Local doctors are sent abroad to get specialized guidance and training.
Since there is at least one hospital located in each district, expats don’t have to struggle for long to find medical assistance when residing in Brunei.
Public Healthcare in Brunei
Public healthcare services in Brunei are either free or offered by the government at highly subsidized rates. Also, they help boost the quality of life and prevent disease through increased monitoring of the health of citizens. The aspects that are carefully monitored include environmental health and occupational health.
In March 2019, the Ministry of Health identified five key goals:
- Providing excellence in healthcare services
- Ensuring control and prevention of non-communicable diseases
- Protecting public health through effective implementation of policy and regulations
- Ensuring healthcare services and systems remain sustainable through innovation and optimal use
- Providing proactive and transparent governance
Although most public hospitals in Brunei are more affordable as compared to private facilities, they are also overcrowded and have a much longer waiting period.
Private Healthcare in Brunei
Expats who have a comprehensive health insurance policy can seek treatment at any of Brunei’s private hospitals, most of which are located in key urban areas. With that, expats should ensure that their insurance policy covers:
- Total medical expenses
- Medical evacuation via an air ambulance in emergencies
- Bringing your family home in case of injury or illness
In rural areas, traveling to a facility for treatment can be difficult due to poor connectivity. At such times, the Flying Medical Services division flies patients to the closest medical facility by helicopter. In case complications arise, such as inadequate medical supplies, medical evacuation to Singapore, or even to Thailand, it is a must.
Emergency Medical Services in Brunei
In case of emergencies, dial the following helpline numbers:
Fire and Rescue: 995
Search and Rescue: 998
Talian Darussalam: 123. Talian Darussalam 123 is a 24/7 national call center for non-emergency services.
Medicines and Pharmacies
It is best to contact your employer to check what all facilities your insurance covers. Similarly, make sure you have the numbers of all medical services in your area. If you are presently on any kind of medication, you are advised to consult with immigration to find out which medicines you can travel with. Some of those drugs could be banned in Brunei. Moreover, most medical supplies are imported in Brunei. That said, many citizens of the country continue to rely on traditional medicines.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Brunei
If you are an expat, digital nomad, or global citizen living in Brunei, we advise you to procure a comprehensive international health insurance policy that covers medical treatment inside the country and abroad. This treatment should include evacuation and airlift to another nation in case of an emergency. Cigna Global and Allianz International offer some of the best international insurance plans that hold valid in most of Brunei’s public healthcare institutions and private hospitals.