Those moving or traveling to Saint Lucia will undoubtedly have many questions regarding how their healthcare system works, as well as whether international health insurance in Saint Lucia is necessary. This brief guide provides information about Saint Lucia’s healthcare system, and further outlines the key health insurance options available in the country. Read on to learn more, or click below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
About Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is one of many biodiverse islands in the Caribbean and forms part of a chain of volcanic islands known as the Lesser Antilles. Its last eruption was in 1766, and the island has since remained dormant - something travelers and expats can worry less about when visiting many of the island’s natural hot pools and bubbling mud springs. At around 43 kilometers long and 23 kilometers wide, the island boasts breathtaking mountains, lush rainforests, rich volcanic beaches, and vibrant coral reefs. Travelers will be in awe of the pristine waters surrounding the island, making it a big draw for those who love to dive and snorkel!
Travelers and expats that have a passion for birdlife will be in for a surprise! At least 157 bird species have been recorded on the island and as many as 45 species can be found in the rainforests, including 3 species of hummingbirds - the Antillean Crested Hummingbird, the Purple-throated Carib, and the Green-throated Carib.
Land explorers will find quirky wildlife species living across the island, including mongooses, opossum, bats, and wild pigs. Whereas, water-lovers will be in for a special treat as the island is also home to an incredible range of marine life, such as dolphins, whales, and sea turtles like leatherback turtles, hawksbill turtles, and green sea turtles.
The culture is rich and steep in history as for centuries it has been visited and settled by numerous civilizations and countries. The small island is home to approximately 190,000 people that speak the official language of English. However, a large percentage of people speak a French dialect known in the region as Creole. A trait left by early French settlers on the island.
Today, Saint Lucia is a democratic country with a prime minister and government. The country became a member of The Commonwealth - a special organization headed by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 1976. This means travelers and expats can expect fair political elections, respect for human rights, and at least an acceptable healthcare system for the population and its foreign visitors.
Public and private healthcare systems in Saint Lucia
Travelers to the island and expatriates living or working long-term are encouraged to learn about the healthcare system on arrival in case of a medical emergency. For starters, there are several public healthcare facilities dotted across the island, especially in areas along the coast including Castries and Vieux Fort. There are also smaller health clinics around the island for non-emergency medical support. Generally, the public system for the most part is quite slow, inefficient, and lacking the resources for comprehensive care. Travelers and expats may be more interested in going to a private healthcare facility, such as the Tapion Hospital located south of Castries.
Securing an international health insurance policy with one of Pacific Prime’s vetted insurance partners will allow you to discover all the healthcare facilities that offer the best treatment and care on the island without paying out of pocket.
General advice for travelers and expats
As of July 9, 2020, the Government of Saint Lucia issued some updated travel protocols for travelers and expats to the island. These include:
- Getting travel or short-term health insurance and checking it provides sufficient cover for the duration of the stay. This means you are encouraged to take out an insurance policy as soon as possible after booking your trip, to make sure you’re covered in the event of any changes before you depart, during your travels, and for the period of your stay in Saint Lucia.
Once you have secured a travel insurance plan, make sure you take details of your insurance policy with you, including your policy number and the emergency assistance telephone number provided by your insurer. Another piece of advice is to give a copy of your policy details to the people you’re traveling with and also your close friends or family back home, in case they need to contact your insurance company on your behalf.
(At Pacific Prime, experts are on hand to offer impartial advice on the best deal. Find out more here.)
- The hurricane season normally runs from June to November. If you are planning on traveling to the island during this period, be sure to monitor local and international weather reports from the US National Hurricane Centre and follow the advice of local authorities, including any evacuation orders.
Medical evacuation plan
For an expatriate or traveler, it is important to consider evacuation to the nearest emergency facility on the island or the US, in case of emergencies or for necessary treatment that the private hospitals and medical centers cannot provide. This can be beneficial if you plan on going on an adventurous trip to Saint Lucia and want some peace of mind. Discuss with an international health insurance provider, such as Pacific Prime, about medical evacuation plans to supplement international health insurance.
Recommended vaccinations and medicines before traveling to Saint Lucia
With reference to the CDC, all expats and travelers should be up-to-date on routine vaccinations before traveling to Saint Lucia. All travelers will require vaccination for measles, as well as other routine vaccinations including:
- Chickenpox (Varicella)
- Flu (influenza)
- Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Yellow Fever (required if traveling from a country with risk of Yellow Fever virus transmission)
(Take note: It is also essential that expats moving to Saint Lucia have a yellow fever vaccination and carry the certificate when traveling in and out of the country.)
Be sure to visit your local doctor or travel advisor to confirm what you need with them before heading out to Saint Lucia.
How to find the best health insurance for expats and travelers
With over two decades of extensive experience gained from supporting expats and travelers across the globe, Pacific Prime can assist with any of your Saint Lucia health insurance needs. By leveraging our close relationships with major international insurers, we can offer you professional and impartial advice, as well as a free plan comparison.
Expatriates with family members can also secure international cover for the whole family.
Concerned about paying upfront for your medical bills? There’s no need to fret, as our international health insurance plans can come with direct billing. More information and benefits like this can be requested by discussing with one of our in-house experts.
Contact us today for a free consultation!