Your mini-guide to health insurance in Bolivia
If you are planning to move to, visit, or are currently living in Bolivia it is highly recommended that you secure adequate medical insurance coverage. Pacific Prime can help arrange coverage that meets your needs. Click below for a free quote, or read on to learn more about health insurance in Bolivia.
Overview of healthcare in Bolivia
Historically, Bolivia has ranked among the lowest countries in South America in terms of health, but this is starting to change with the overall healthcare system in the country currently undergoing reform.
Like in many other countries in the region, Bolivia has a mix of public and private health facilities capable of delivering healthcare to foreigners and locals alike. Public facilities are subsidized by the government, however, they are typically drastically underfunded and heavily utilized, resulting in long wait times and a sub-par quality of healthcare when compared with western nations.
The majority of expats in the major cities prefer to utilize the various private clinics. These clinics offer a generally higher level of care than their public counterparts and are often capable of handling most medical concerns. As with many other private healthcare systems, healthcare from these clinics and hospitals can be considerably more expensive than at public systems.
Outside of the major cities, however, is a different story. Finding any quality health care might be difficult to nearly impossible.
Medical Insurance options for expats in Bolivia
Despite the fact that there are decent to quality private health facilities in Bolivia, the higher prevalence of diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever, leptospirosis, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and bacterial diarrhea along with a generally lower level of sanitation and generally inferior quality of health care point to the fact that medical insurance is a necessity.
As such, there are three health insurance options available in Bolivia:
In an effort to increase the accessibility of healthcare for citizens in the country, the Bolivian government has introduced basic public health insurance which covers the majority of the cost of care, and even the complete cost of care for some conditions, at public hospitals for at-risk groups (children, expectant mothers, and the elderly).
Social security is in place for residents who are actively employed in the country with payments being mandatory. In 2010, a new law was passed stating that expatriates must make social security payments. This dual payment system where employers and employees both contribute does provide savings that can cover the cost of healthcare at some facilities in the country.
Private health insurance is available in the country and is designed to cover the cost of care at the private hospitals. As with many other countries around the world, there are two major categories of health insurance available in Bolivia:
Local health insurance plans - these cover the cost of care in Bolivia only.
International health insurance plans - these cover the cost of care in any country.
What type of health insurance should I purchase?
It is generally recommended by health and travel experts that expats can look to receive care from the private facilities in the country. However, treatment for major conditions and even minor surgeries should be done outside of the country.
What’s more, due to the fact that many smaller cities and more rural locations lack adequate health facilities any person living outside of the big cities in Bolivia will likely need to consider medical evacuation should they need to receive care. This can be incredibly expensive, even if you are evacuated to a larger city in the country.
Local health insurance plans do not cover healthcare outside of Bolivia or offer adequate evacuation coverage. This means that many expats should consider securing international health insurance. These plans have high coverage limits which will not only cover the cost of care at the best medical facilities in the country but they will also cover treatment in other locations as well.
Cost of health insurance in Bolivia
The cost of an international health insurance plan in Bolivia will differ largely based on a number of contributing factors including your age, coverage requirements, and even potentially your nationality. For example, Americans looking to secure a plan that covers them in Bolivia as well as in the US can expect to pay a lot more for coverage than say those who don't need coverage in the US.
If you are looking to learn more about how much you can expect to pay for an international medical insurance plan that will cover your stay in Bolivia, click on the button below to get a free quote from Pacific Prime.