Azerbaijan Health Insurance
Those moving or traveling to Azerbaijan will undoubtedly have many questions regarding how the Azerbaijan healthcare system works, as well as whether private health insurance is necessary. This guide provides information about Azerbaijan, it’s healthcare system, and further outlines the key health insurance options available in Azerbaijan. Read on to learn more, or click below to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
Azerbaijan, officially known as the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It shares its borders with Iran to the south, Armenia to the west, Georgia to the northwest, Russia to the north, and is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east. With the rich oil fields within Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku, the city was able to transform into a highly modernized city but has left a large portion of the surrounding rural areas and villages untouched. The capital of Baku is a multilingual place, offering a variety of accessible cultural experiences for expatriates, although outside of the capital, the use of English is limited.
Healthcare in Azerbaijan
Healthcare in Azerbaijan is provided by public and private healthcare institutions and regulated through the Ministry of Healthcare. Public hospitals are run by the state and medical care is offered free of charge for Azerbaijani residents. Most specialized clinics and hospitals are located in Baku.
Public healthcare in Azerbaijan
The Azerbaijan government uses the Soviet Semashko system as a model for their own healthcare system. The Semashko system was organized around the guiding principle that people should have universal and free access to healthcare. The public healthcare facilities are divided into hospitals and polyclinics offering outpatient services for the Azerbaijan residents.
The medical care facilities located throughout Azerbaijan often fall short compared to those seen in more developed countries. The facilities located in rural areas outside of Baku are extremely limited by the lack of doctors, proper facilities, and issues in supplying sufficient electricity. Rural facilities should only be trusted for basic checkups and shouldn’t be used for any intrusive exams or medical procedures.
In the city of Baku, medical facilities offer a wide variety of services, but it is advised to only use them for basic healthcare needs. In the case of serious medical emergency, the nearest healthcare facility capable of providing sufficient treatment might not be within Azerbaijan, so a traveler or expatriate will need to consider medical transportation and an international health insurance plan that incorporates medical evacuation in its coverage. To get more information on medical care centers in rural and remote areas, contact your embassy prior to your visit.
Private healthcare in Azerbaijan
Private medical facilities offer significantly higher standards of care, including modern equipment and well-qualified staff. For this reason, most expatriates living in Azerbaijan choose to use private hospitals. The private sector in Azerbaijan is developing, leaving expatriates, especially those located in Baku, with more options to choose from when it comes to their health. For expatriates wishing to use the well-equipped private medical facilities, international health insurance, with the medical repatriation and medical evacuation coverage, is highly recommended.
Medical tourism in Azerbaijan
In recent years, Azerbaijan Government has been taking action into regaining the country's status as a popular medical destination in the region. Previously highly known for its spas, especially volcano mud spas and halotherapy centers, new medical centers and resorts have been opened in Baku, Masalli, Nakchivan, Naftalan, and other regions to attract growth in the country’s medical tourism industry.
The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is most famous for its Halotherapy centers that are designed especially to treat people with asthma and other respiratory diseases. The therapy consists of breathing inside salt caves.
More than 350 mud volcanoes exist in eastern Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea region, and many new hotels and spas erupted in the areas, which offer volcano mud treatments. Volcanic mud is known for therapeutic and derma-cosmetological properties due to the prevalence of mineral salts and organic compounds in it.
Mandatory health insurance system in Azerbaijan
In recent years, Azerbaijan has taken many steps to improve its medical sector, including enhancing the efficiency of healthcare, implementing infrastructure projects and application of effective policies which are aimed to increase the transparency of the healthcare system in the country. One of those projects is the introduction of mandatory health insurance to help with the funding of the healthcare services and facilities across the country.
Mandatory medical insurance will be applied in Azerbaijan from January 1, 2020. Mandatory health insurance in Azerbaijan is managed by The State Agency on Mandatory Health Insurance, and as of now, the agency has carried out two pilot programs: in Mingachevir and Yevlakh since 2016, and in Aghash in 2018, by providing 1829 medical services within a benefits package.
The standard benefits package under the mandatory health insurance system in Azerbaijan consist of medical services such as:
- Emergency (including ambulance service);
- Primary healthcare (family physician);
- Outpatient services;
- Inpatient services;
- Instrumental diagnostics (USI, CT, MRT, etc.);
- Pregnancy and delivery;
- Urgent vaccinations (anti-rabic, anti-tetanus, anti-snake venom, etc.);
- Scheduled child vaccinations;
- Surgeries (including expensive heart surgeries, cochlear implantations, etc.);
- Specialized continuing healthcare.
There are also 1186 exclusions not covered by the benefit package. To use these services, citizens must make individual payments.
Expats in Azerbaijan who work there should also purchase a medical insurance policy. However, as mentioned earlier, private international health policies are a superior option, as it allows expatriates to gain access to private healthcare, or repatriate to another country for specialized medical care.
Expat tips for living and working in Azerbaijan
Religion and customs
Even though close to 98 percent of the population in Azerbaijan is Muslim, Azerbaijan is mainly a secular society and religion is considered a private matter. Even so, expatriates and visitors to the county should respect local customs, laws, and religions to ensure your actions do not offend the people of Azerbaijan, especially in religious areas or during the holy month of Ramadan. Other behaviors, such as homosexual, lesbian and transgender actions are illegal in Azerbaijan, and it is recommended for expatriates within the country not to show public displays of affection.
When traveling throughout Azerbaijan, there are some areas that an expatriate should avoid or take measures to ensure their safety while visiting. In the southwestern regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, extreme caution should be taken when near any of the disputed border areas. These areas are occupied by Azerbaijani and Armenian military forces and although there has been a ceasefire in place since 1994, there are still regular exchanges of gunfire across the line of contact. In addition, some of these disputed areas are heavily land mined. It is strongly suggested to not travel to any of these occupied areas near Nagorno-Karabakh. To the north of Azerbaijan, the border with Russia should not be used to enter or leave the country, because it is closed to foreign nationals.
When using the Baku Metro, or other forms of public transport, travelers are recommended to exercise caution with personal safety and belongings. Traveling by road should be done with care, as many roads are in poor condition. Most roads are badly lit and road quality generally becomes worse in rural areas. If hurt or injured in any way in such remote rural areas, travel to the nearest medical facility may take some time. With such injuries, immediate care might be required and an international medical insurance policy with evacuation coverage will help you evacuate the area quickly to the nearest medical center that can take proper care of you.
If you would like more information about traveling to Azerbaijan with a medical insurance policy, or to receive a free international health insurance quote, feel free to contact one of our dedicated advisers today.