Morocco Medical Insurance
Morocco’s health system has undergone reforms in recent years, but their effectiveness has been hindered to some extent by corruption. While adequate care is available in the larger cities, coverage is patchy in many areas of the country, and specialist treatment may not be available, which means it is a good idea to obtain Morocco expat health insurance coverage that includes an emergency evacuation or repatriation plan.
Government hospitals may provide free or minimal charge emergency treatment initially, but insurance is necessary to cover costs beyond that. Insurance is available locally but this tends to limit where you can receive care and will not cover you if you need to leave the country or be evacuated to receive specialist treatment. Morocco’s hospitals have strong links with France and Spain, and these are the usual destination for those requiring specialist expertise or treatments not available locally.
Most common prescriptions and over the counter medicines are available in the cities, and major cities also have emergency pharmacies (pharmacies du garde, the addresses of which are usually posted in pharmacy windows), but it is a good idea to bring what you need, especially if you are planning to travel into the interior, where health coverage is very limited.
Morocco aims to reduce the level of deaths in childbirth from the current rate of 227 per 100,000 to 50 per 100,000. Infant mortality, currently 40 per 1,000 births (an improvement on 1981’s figures when it was around 91 per 1,000), is to be reduced to 15 per 1,000 by 2012. However, only around 82 percent of Morocco’s population has access to clean water and only around 75 percent to proper sanitation.
At present, Morocco has around 46 doctors per 100,000 inhabitants, 44% of whom are located in the narrow zone between Rabat and Casablanca. There are only around 130 hospitals and 2,400 basic health care centres in Morocco, and approximately 1 hospital bed per 1,000 people. The government spends about 5.5 percent of its budget on health.
Reforms were introduced in 2005 to increase the number of people covered by health insurance coverage - a payroll-based mandatory health insurance plan for employees and a publicly financed fund to cover services for the poor. The National Fund of Social Providence Organisations (CNOPS) had doubled to more than 3.2 billion dirhams in 2007 since the introduction of compulsory public health insurance, and now covers around 3.2 million people.
Other successes include an increase in the number of reimbursable drugs from 1,000 to 2,497, a new IT system to reduce reimbursement waiting times, the removal of restrictions in 87% of operations and extension of cover for medical expenses of patients with cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. On the other hand, the infrastructure is not always in place to allow people to get the care they are theoretically entitled to. Doctors across Morocco have gone on strike several times in recent years including in 2007, when they came to an agreement for more benefits and higher pay.
The fund also faces difficulties such as the insured population consisting of a higher proportion of older people; retirees now represent 22% of those insured, up from 16% before the introduction of compulsory health insurance. There are nevertheless plans to extend the fund to other categories of people, such as students in higher education and people in liberal professions such as doctors and engineers.
The government is trying to remedy the inequal distribution of health services across Morocco, with a new restructuring and decentralizing plan set to run from 2008 to 2012. It is also aimed at reducing the cost and increasing the availability of drugs, which currently cost about 750m dirhams of the state budget, but are not available everywhere, and increase the use of generic medicines, which currently only have around a 25% market share. Corruption remains a problem in the Moroccan health system, although the government aims to make it easier for complaints to be reported and followed up.