Health Insurance in Tunisia
Planning a trip to Tunisia? Or maybe you’re relocating there? In any case, it’s good to familiarize yourself with healthcare matters in the country. This guide provides you with a snapshot overview of the Tunisian healthcare system, insurance landscape, as well as some useful travel tips. You’ll also find out how to secure health insurance in Tunisia. Read on to learn more, or click below for a free quote!
The Republic of Tunisia is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa - bordered by Algeria, Libya, and the Mediterranean Sea. The former French colony received its independence in 1956 and is a representative democracy. It’s home to 11.7 million people, who are primarily of the Arab-Berber ethnicity. The majority religion is Islam and official language is Arabic. However, Berber and French are also widely spoken. Tunisia’s diverse economy includes agriculture, petroleum, mining, manufacturing, as well as tourism. It’s more prosperous than its neighbours and scores high on the HDI index. In terms of healthcare, the country’s health indicators also rank near the top in Africa. On average, Tunisians have a life expectancy of 74 years and enjoy near universal access to basic healthcare.
Healthcare system in Tunisia
The Tunisian healthcare system has a strong government infrastructure and is closely monitored by the Ministry of Public Health. It comprises both public (government-funded) and private (patient-funded) sectors. The country’s healthcare is one of the most advanced in Africa and has a level of quality that is on par with many European nations. Nevertheless, there remains considerable disparity between Tunisia’s public and private facilities, as well as between rural and urban areas in the country.
Public healthcare system
The public healthcare sector in Tunisia is funded by taxpayer contributions and is available to all Tunisians and eligible foreigners. That being said, those in rural areas may struggle to access specialist care. This is because the country’s top specialists in the public sector work at the universities located in major cities.
Public health insurance
The public health insurance scheme is managed by the National Health Insurance Fund or Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Maladie (CNAM).
Who is eligible?
It is compulsory for everyone - including foreigners living and working in Tunisia. Spouses and minor children are also eligible for health insurance as dependents.
Employers typically handle the registration for their expat employees, while self-employed expats go through a different system and register on their own.
Benefits can only be received if the main insurer has either worked at least 50 days during the last two quarters or at least 80 days during the last four quarters.
What coverage is provided?
Under the public health insurance scheme, free healthcare services are provided within the public healthcare sector: healthcare centers providing primary care, district and regional hospitals, and university hospitals.
The insured can access the private healthcare sector for approved services and if they are treating severe and/or chronic conditions that require full health insurance cover. It may also cover some cases of hospitalization and surgery.
In terms of coverage level, this is dependent on the following:
- Type of care: Public or Private
- Payment terms: Per treatment/procedure or a lump sum amount
- Coverage level desires: Amount reimbursed, payment caps, reference price of drugs, etc.
Private healthcare system
The number of private healthcare providers in Tunisia are becoming much more prevalent due to an obvious strain on the public healthcare sector. In general, private healthcare providers have better equipment, more qualified medical staff, and give patients a superior quality of care. However, they are also a far more expensive option.
Public healthcare providers are plagued with overcrowding and long wait times. Conversely, private healthcare affords more convenience. Furthermore, the public sector is understaffed due to lack of funds and a brain drain of medical practitioners.
Likewise, the public healthcare sector also lacks technology, as 70% of the country’s modern equipment is owned and used by the private sector. This has forced people to opt for private healthcare instead and face out-of-pocket expenses.
When it comes to dentists and opticians, these are also almost exclusively provided through the private healthcare sector. It is possible to secure coverage for these as added benefits on a private health insurance plan.
Tunisia’s thriving medical tourism industry is a testament to its excellent and value-for-money private healthcare services, as well as its reputation for highly competent medical staff.
In addition to this, the country’s proximity to and shared language with both the European and Arab market are all the more reasons for its popularity as a medical tourism destination.
Many foreign patients travel to the country each year in order to undertake specialized treatments and surgical operations in the field of cardiology, gynecology, urology, cosmetic surgery, etc.
Tunisia Travel Advice
If you are traveling to Tunisia, you are urged to check the political situation and safety situation in the country beforehand. You should also secure travel insurance, as healthcare is not free of charge for tourists.
In addition to this, note that emergency medical treatment is not readily available outside urban areas and you may have to be transported to a major Tunsian city or even abroad. Given this, ensure that your travel insurance includes medical evacuation.
Before you leave for Tunisia, it’s also worth checking with your general practitioner regarding vaccinations. If you are bringing medication with you, it’s also a good idea to check whether it has a legal status in the country.
Please note that the information on this page is not fully comprehensive and is subject to change without prior warning. It is advisable to consult with a local Tunisian embassy should you have any doubts before you depart on your journey.
Private health insurance for expats in Tunisia
Even though expats working in Tunisia can access the public healthcare sector, many find that it is not up to their standards. This is largely due to overcrowding and the lack of modern equipment. In this instance, securing a private health insurance plan is a smart move that enables expats to access the private healthcare sector and avoid out-of-pocket payments.
If you’re looking for health insurance, you’ve come to the right place. Pacific Prime provides expat health insurance plans to foreign nations in Tunisia. In many cases, we also offer Tunisia health insurance policies with no deductible or excesses. In addition to this, we can help you secure extra benefits, such as coverage for outpatient treatment, dental, vision, maternity, and more.
Some of our plans are also globally portable and renewable for life. This means that you don’t have to worry if you develop a pre-existing condition, make a lot of claims, or even leave Tunisia for another country. You can still have peace of mind knowing that whatever happens, you will be covered. To explore your options, contact us today for a free quote and insurance consultation!