Learn about the Healthcare & Insurance Options for Expats in Cambodia
A developing nation of the ASEAN, Cambodia is politically stable. The GDP growth rate of the country is estimated at over 7%. The country has a population of over 15 million, with one-third of its citizens under the age of 15. Cambodia’s economy is booming, thanks to its large-scale garment production and thriving tourism industry. Here’s what you need to know about the Cambodia healthcare system and insurance options for expats.
The falling fertility rate is the biggest impediment to the country’s population growth in the future. Although the rate of poverty is less than 20%, the quality of healthcare continues to remain somewhat below the globally accepted standards. Expats and travelers are expected to obtain international health insurance before visiting or moving to the country. It helps them access top-notch healthcare services both within the country and beyond it. You can get details about the traveler’s health information and vaccination in Cambodia at CDC.
Overview of Healthcare System in Cambodia
Though the healthcare system of Cambodia has significantly improved in the last two decades, access to standard medication and healthcare is particularly problematic and mostly inaccessible for rural Cambodians. The government is trying to reform the health financing system, and its commitment to the cause of Universal Health Coverage is apparent. It has been found that disbursing funds at the level of primary care is favorable for the poor. The in-patient care at public hospitals is pro-poor.
On the other hand, the services of private sector hospitals are mostly affordable only by the rich. But overall estimates show that a significant portion of health financing appears to benefit the poor. To achieve Universal Health Coverage, the government of Cambodia needs to regulate the private sector.
How the Cambodian Healthcare Works for Expats
The clinics in the country offer essential treatments, while the hospitals contain specialist departments. Visitors traveling to and expats living in the country usually prefer receiving medical care and treatment at private clinics and hospitals rather than at public hospitals. Along with superior standards of medical services, private clinics and hospitals in the capital city of Phnom Penh offer services of medical translation and evacuation depending on the gravity of the situation.
Medical staff and doctors hired by these medical establishments mostly undergo training in Western countries. Public hospitals are primarily understaffed, and the state of infrastructure is abysmal. It prevents a traveler from receiving quality healthcare at public hospitals. Therefore, carrying a comprehensive health insurance policy before traveling or moving to Cambodia is an absolute must.
Public Healthcare in Cambodia
The Cambodian healthcare system and its inadequate medical infrastructure are not up to par with Western standards. There is hardly any high-level healthcare available in rural areas or the major cities of the country. In case of a medical emergency, air evacuation to Thailand or Singapore is the only option for expats to get better treatment. Therefore, you must have a health insurance plan in place that covers medical evacuation.
Private Healthcare in Cambodia
Very few hospitals in Cambodia offer healthcare services that are at par with international standards. Tourists and expats in the country residing in the capital city of Phnom Penh are more likely to find proper medical coverage in private hospitals than those living in rural areas. In case of serious injuries or illnesses, it is not unusual to find Cambodians receiving specialized treatment in Singapore or Bangkok. Expats also prefer private clinics and hospitals, which are rather expensive. Hence, we advise expats to opt for healthcare insurance.
Emergency Medical Services in Cambodia
The ambulance services in Cambodia are not very prompt and responsive. One can dial 119 to avail of public emergency services, but the number sometimes goes unanswered. In case of a medical emergency, expats must not wait for their emergency calls to be answered. Instead, they must rush to any of the significant international hospitals on their own.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Despite rigid laws in Cambodia, all kinds of drugs can be purchased over the counter in the country. Counterfeit drugs are also common in the market. Therefore, expats must avoid visiting the smaller, independent pharmacies and instead buy medicines from more significant and authentic pharmacies. Although there are several pharmacies located across different Cambodian cities, it is best to purchase medication from the largest pharmacy chains in Phnom Penh. Drugs in Cambodia are relatively inexpensive than the ones in Western countries.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Cambodia
Expats traveling or moving to Cambodia should buy a comprehensive international health insurance policy that covers overseas medical evacuation and airlifting in the event of a medical emergency. Of the best international insurance plans offered across the world, those provided by Cigna Global and Allianz International are generally accepted by public healthcare establishments and private hospitals of Cambodia.