Health insurance in the Dominican Republic
If you’re planning to visit, move to, or are currently living in the Dominican Republic, then it’s essential that you have a health insurance plan to cover your medical costs while you’re in the region. Pacific Prime can offer you the best plan for your needs, and at a great price too! Click below for a free quote, or read on to find out about health insurance in the Dominican Republic.
Overview of healthcare in the Dominican Republic
Anyone going to the Dominican Republic should have adequate health insurance that covers their medical expenses, as healthcare can be costly in tourist areas such as the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo, and Sosúa. The country has an excellent reputation in the field of laser surgery and dentistry, and its standard of healthcare is not far behind other developed countries.
That said, the quality of healthcare in the Dominican Republic can vary greatly. Private hospitals and clinics in the major cities and tourist destinations offer a high standard of care, and are equipped with well-trained, bilingual medical staff. Given that public clinics are generally lacking in quality and under-equipped, private medical insurance is highly recommended.
One thing to note here is that general practitioners are quite rare in the Dominican Republic, so many will visit an internist for basic health care services and for referrals to specialists, if needed.
The Dominican Republic healthcare financing system
The Dominican Republic operates on a three-tiered healthcare financing system: 1) contributive, 2) subsidized, and 3) contributive subsidized. These tiers involve different financing methods, as explained below:
- The contributive tier involves healthcare funding financed by workers and their employers.
- Those under the subsidized tier receive funding from the Dominican state. Those that are eligible for state funding include the poor, disabled, and unemployed. It’s important to note here that most people in the country still end up paying out-of-pocket for healthcare, as only 1 percent of GDP goes toward health expenditure.
- The contributive subsidized tier is financed by professionals, technical workers and self-employed persons with wages higher than the national average. This regime is subsidized by the state.
Foreign expat nationals in the Dominican Republic will likely be part of the contributive subsidized tier, but it's worth double checking with your employer. To avoid excessive gaps in coverage, a local or international private health insurance plan is therefore necessary.
Dominican Republic health-related travel advice
- Most tourists who have travelled to the Dominican Republic don’t experience any trouble at all. That being said, the country does have a high crime rate, e.g. there have been a number of incidents that involved foreigners being mugged at gunpoint in Santo Domingo. Tourists should therefore be vigilant, especially after dark.
- If you're planning to swim or take part in watersports in the Dominican Republic, be sure that you have exercised the necessary precautions and make sure that you're insured, as many swimming pools and beaches lack lifeguards and proper rescue equipment.
- Driving standards are generally quite poor in the Dominican Republic, e.g. drivers usually don't make it a habit to signal. Unlit vehicles are also common. Try to avoid driving outside the major cities, especially during busy holiday periods and at night.
- Malaria is common throughout the country (except for in Santo Domingo and Santiago), so it's important that you prevent malaria infection with insect repellent and wear long sleeves, as well as have antimalarial drugs on hand. If you're travelling to smaller towns and rural regions, you should also consider typhoid and rabies vaccinations.
- There are small confirmed cases of Cholera, but it's generally confined to rural areas. There are also cases of chikungunya virus and dengue fever, so be sure to take the precautions necessary to avoid mosquito bites.
- Travellers should keep up-to-date with all routine vaccines before going to the Dominican Republic, including the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccine, the chickenpox vaccine and the polio vaccine. The Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccines are also recommended.
Medical insurance options for expats in the Dominican Republic
Obtaining medical insurance in the Dominican Republic is essential for a number of reasons. For example, the presence of diseases such as malaria along with the generally inferior quality of public healthcare both point to the fact that private health insurance is necessary. As such, there are a few private health insurance options available:
International health insurance
International health insurance is a highly recommended option, as these plans are especially designed for globally mobile expats and frequent travellers. With an international plan, you can enjoy comprehensive coverage for healthcare virtually anywhere in the world, as well as avail unique features such as emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits.
Local health insurance
You can also choose a local Dominican Republic health insurance plan, but your coverage will be limited within the DR only. If you're planning on spending most of your time in the DR and will rarely travel overseas, then this may be the best option for you.
If you're only travelling to the Dominican Republic for a short trip, travel insurance may be the best option. With a travel plan you can enjoy coverage for emergency medical treatment and repatriation costs, as well as travel-related mishaps including flight delays and cancellations. Please note that this plan is best suited for those travelling to the DR for a short period of time.
What is the cost of international health insurance in the Dominican Republic?
The cost of international health insurance in the Dominican Republic will vary depending on a number of factors, including your age, coverage requirements, and current health. According to our Cost of Health Insurance - 2016 report, the average cost of international health insurance for all plans and demographics in the DR is USD 9,229.
The average cost of health insurance for the different types of international plans are as follows:
- Single international health insurance plans cost an average of USD 4,455.
- The average cost for couples is USD 8,866.
- The average cost of international health insurance for families is USD 13,075.
- International health insurance for retirees cost an average of USD 10,518.
Looking to find out more about your health insurance options in the Dominican Republic? Click the button below to get a free personalized quote.