Your mini guide to health insurance in Nicaragua
The Republic of Nicaragua is the largest Central American country on the coast of both the Caribbean and North Pacific Ocean. Its population of 6.1 million people are warm and generous, with more than 2 million living in its capital Managua. There is a growing expatriate community who have moved for business, investment or retirement from many places around the world.
Overview of healthcare in Nicaragua
Nicaragua features both public and private healthcare sectors, with a government funded universal free healthcare for citizens. Decentralization has occurred in the public sector, delivering a three-level system as a way to help it respond to the dynamic needs of localities. The model, as such, emphasizes a community-based preventative and primary medical care approach.
Public hospitals in Nicaragua are not well equipped by Western standards, and often you will be charged cash for service use if you are not a citizen. Facilities in Managua can be more modern and better-equipped but you may still need a good understanding of Spanish to use the facilities. In an emergency, patients are generally sent to a public hospital unless otherwise indicated.
Private facilities in the country are often hospitals and medical clinics run by health insurance management companies or nongovernmental organizations. Most are located in Managua and Granada and offer Nicaragua’s highest standard of care (although do not expect leading edge facilities and equipment). Private hospitals are often the choice of expats who want to avoid long wait times.
Medical insurance options in Nicaragua
Insurance options in Nicaragua are similar to those you’ll find in most countries. Health plans can be purchased from both local and international insurers, or using a broker to find you a plan. Local hospitals may also have healthcare packages that come in various tiers and forms that you can purchase from them directly.
Common concerns in Nicaragua is that many local plans are highly restrictive. Many over 60s are denied coverage, as are those with pre-existing conditions. Hospital plans may also only cover routine or basic care, but severe illnesses or significant surgeries have been excluded and must be paid out of pocket. International insurance remains the easiest and most comprehensive option for many expats.
Cost of health insurance in Nicaragua
Perceptions on the costs of the options available in Nicaragua will depend on the health system of the country you’re most familiar with. American expats, for example, may find the insurance costs to be relatively cheap, while British or French expats used to a largely government funded/subsidized health system may be unfamiliar with insurance premium costs.
On the whole, you can expect that hospital provided plans are the cheapest, local plans more expensive, and international plans the most expensive. A low tier hospital plan may cost as little as US $18 per month, an international plan may be as low as US $44 per month and a local plan will be somewhere in between. What is important to know is that lower premiums generally mean lower coverage.
To give you an idea of the range of prices, the higher-end international plans can be as expensive as US $942 per month. If you’re looking for a fully comprehensive plan (one that covers inpatient, outpatient, dental and maternity) then you may be able to get coverage in Nicaragua for around US $100 monthly. It may be a small price to pay for piece of mind in the chance you end up with a medical emergency.
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To find out just how much an insurance plan in Nicaragua will cost, check out our online comparison tool using the button below or contact our advisors to discuss your healthcare needs. Using a broker like Pacific Prime means you not only have someone working to find you the right coverage for the best price, but a partner in your corner for when you may need to make a claim.