International Health Insurance for Expats in Nepal
Health Insurance in Nepal for Expats and Foreigners
Expats can acquire global health insurance during their stay in Nepal to safeguard themselves from costly medical expenses. For expats who are on tourist visas, travel insurance can provide excellent short-term emergency medical coverage.
Whether expats are moving to or visiting Nepal, it is strongly recommended that they purchase private health insurance. Expats may be drawn to Nepal by the beautiful Himalayan mountain range, but they should never make the trek without an adequate health insurance policy.
This short guide below offers a practical summary of healthcare and insurance in Nepal, as well as options from health insurance companies for expats dwelling there. Read on to learn more, or click here to obtain a no-obligation, free quote.
The Healthcare System in Nepal
Nepal’s healthcare system provides both private and public health facilities, with most of them located within the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu. While Kathmandu boasts the best medical facilities in the country, the standards of health facilities decline the further you are from the capital.
In general, public healthcare facilities throughout Nepal are poorly equipped and extremely limited by Western standards. This is especially true in rural Nepal. Many rural areas lack proper medical facilities, leaving Nepal citizens and foreigners who live there without adequate healthcare.
In case of major illness or injury, expats are advised to be evacuated to the nearest adequate medical facility. In most cases, this would mean evacuation to Singapore, Bangkok, or New Delhi. This makes medical evacuation coverage a necessary benefit in your insurance policy.
Public Health Insurance in Nepal
Nepal has a government-run public insurance plan that provides coverage for services like outpatient care, vaccination, medications, family planning, maternity care, and emergency services.
To access this plan, Nepal resident households are regarded as a unit and have to pay a premium every year for this public insurance coverage. The government will compensate households that are unable to pay for the premium.
The public insurance plan has had trouble reaching widespread coverage in the country. As of 2018, the plan has yet to cover 38 of the 77 districts in the country. Given that the public has shown little interest in health insurance policies, the government has plans to make it mandatory for more government staff and migrant workers.
Private Health Insurance in Nepal
Private health insurance is a necessity for expats in Nepal. Due to the limited coverage of the Nepal public insurance and the hazards of the mountainous terrain, expats should not travel or move to Nepal without it.
Private health insurance is available through international health insurance providers. Expats often favor international insurance companies for their comprehensive coverage and global benefits.
International insurance plans are available through both travel insurance and health insurance policies. Travel insurance addresses medical expenses resulting from accidents or illnesses, in addition to covering lost baggage and rescheduling fees. It is typically designed for short-term coverage.
For expatriates planning an extended stay in Nepal, a more comprehensive and long-term healthcare solution is necessary. This need is effectively met by international health insurance plans.
Travel Insurance for Expats in Nepal
Travel insurance protects expats from specific financial risks and losses that may arise during their visit to Nepal, especially when engaging in activities like trekking the Himalayas. Travel insurance can offer medical evacuation coverage that protects expats while mountaineering.
Medical evacuation coverage will pay the cost of a helicopter flight to the closest adequate hospital. This can sometimes be as far as New Delhi or Singapore.
Travel insurance also provides financial protection against the potential challenges of being on the road, such as lost luggage or medical emergencies. We will discuss more of these coverage benefits below.
Choosing the Right Travel Insurance
The right travel insurance will depend on your budget, your planned activities, and your specific health needs. If you plan on hiking the mountain ranges, make sure to find a policy that covers that specific activity and all its potential risks.
Medical evacuation is a must for all visiting and living in Nepal. Helicopter rides from Nepal to nearby countries for medical treatment can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and it is important to have a financial safeguard like health insurance in place.
Travel Insurance Coverage
Travel insurance covers many financial risks for expats. Due to the high risks of Nepal tourist activities, travel insurance is strongly recommended for visiting expats.
Coverage can include:
- Trip cancellation: Refunds your trip expenses in case you have to cancel the trip for a covered reason.
- Delayed departure: Covers delays in your transportation, such as flights, ferries, cruise ships, or other modes of transport, that occur through no fault of your own and extend beyond your scheduled departure time.
- Personal belongings and lost luggage: Provides coverage for luggage or personal belongings that are lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip.
- Travel documents: covers the expenses associated with replacing lost or damaged travel documents, such as passports and ID cards.
- Personal liability: Covers third-party insurance claims that have been filed against you.
- Emergency medical cover: Provides reimbursement for emergency medical care and treatment expenses up to the limits specified in your plan.
- Medical evacuation: Covers the cost of emergency transportation to the nearest adequate healthcare center or hospital.
- COVID-19 coverage: Covers the cost of medical expenses relating to COVID-19, from testing to treatment.
At Pacific Prime, we are partnered with some of the world’s top travel insurance companies, like Vumi and IMG Global. Reach out to us or check out our free plan comparison tool to hear more about top travel insurance plans!
International Health Insurance in Nepal - Plans and Coverage
Among the top international health insurance providers catering to expats in Nepal are MSH International, Cigna, and others. Below, we'll provide a concise overview of each provider, highlighting the key points of their plans and coverage.
MSH International has almost 50 years of experience in providing health insurance for expats and their families. They offer single-trip and multi-trip travel insurance, as well as short-term and long-term international health insurance plans.
Their single-trip travel insurance covers emergency medical coverage up to $7,000,000, with their multi-trip plan covering up to $10,000,000. Their international health insurance plans differ in coverage and limits, but some basic features across their plans are:
- Inpatient treatment
- Cancer treatment
- Emergency evacuation
Cigna Global provides flexible insurance plans to expats in Nepal with 24/7 access to a customer care team. While they don’t offer typical travel insurance, they offer a Cigna Close Care flexi plan for short-term expat health insurance. This plan is perfect for trips under a year.
Cigna has Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans with different levels of coverage and limits. All three of these plans share several common key coverage benefits:
- Inpatient and day-patient treatments
- Cancer treatments
- Accidental death or total permanent disability compensation
Bupa Global offers expats in Nepal tailor-made plans and guaranteed lifetime renewal. They stopped selling travel insurance in 2021, but still provide excellent international health insurance solutions to expats looking to stay in Nepal longer-term.
Some of the shared features of Bupa’s plans include:
- Inpatient coverage
- Emergency evacuation and repatriation
- 24/7 access to medical advice through the Bupa Global service center
- Direct access to specialists without referral
Aetna offers expats in Nepal flexible and customizable benefits plans with additional options for medical, vision, dental, and pharmacy coverage. They do not offer travel insurance options, instead catering to expats looking for a longer-term solution through their Pioneer plans.
These plans range in coverage and limits with five levels of coverage to choose from. The basic coverage for their plans includes:
- Inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment (up to 90 days)
- Emergency medical evacuation
- Rehabilitation up to 120 days
- Emergency dental and optical treatment
NOW Health International offers expats abroad in Nepal comprehensive health insurance solutions. They do not offer specific travel insurance, but they offer SimpleCare plans that provide strict cover for medical emergencies and evacuation.
In addition to SimpleCare, they have WorldCare plans. WorldCare provides a more comprehensive solution to expat healthcare. WorldCare plans come in different tiers with different coverage, but the shared benefits across the plans are:
- In-patient and day-patient care
- Organ transplant
- Evacuation and repatriation
- Cancer treatment
Allianz provides extensive insurance plans in Nepal designed to meet the diverse needs of expats. Riders are available for purchase and offer coverage for accidents and medical evacuation, and can be attached to insurance policies.
Allianz presents a range of plans with varying levels of coverage and prices. The shared coverage across their plans includes:
- Inpatient costs
- Diagnostics and laboratory tests
- Ambulances transport
- Cancer treatment
Pacific Prime is partnered with even more leading international health insurance providers with different plan options. To see more, check out our insurer page on our website.
Additional Benefits and Coverage
- Dental: Additional benefits can cover dental check-ups, cleanings, and major dental procedures.
- Maternity and family coverage: Expats planning to start or expand their families can tailor international health insurance plans to include coverage for prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, and additional benefits for newborns.
- Preventive care: Certain plans offer regular health checkups, screenings, vaccinations, and wellness programs, aiding expats in maintaining their well-being during their adventures abroad.
Expats in Nepal with pre-existing conditions may have more limited choices when purchasing an international insurance policy, but viable solutions exist. Options include selecting a plan with a pre-existing condition exclusion, a moratorium, or coverage with loading.
- Exclusion: Choosing a plan with an exclusion means that the insurer won't reimburse the policyholder for medical bills related to the pre-existing condition.
- Moratorium: In this scenario, the insurance company provides health coverage but excludes pre-existing conditions. Instead, there is a waiting period, typically around 24 months, during which the company assesses the pre-existing condition before deciding on coverage.
- Coverage with loading: Some insurance companies may offer coverage for pre-existing conditions but at higher premiums. It's important to note that not all pre-existing conditions qualify for this type of coverage, and not all insurance providers offer this option.
Retirees Seeking International Healthcare in Nepal
Retirees settling in Nepal should consider choosing an international health insurance plan that provides extensive and adaptable coverage tailored to their specific needs. This may encompass benefits like cancer screenings, support for chronic conditions, and preventive health services.
Contact Pacific Prime to explore our range of international insurance plans designed for retirees in Nepal. We are committed to assisting expats in finding a plan that offers outstanding coverage tailored to their needs, along with access to the finest private healthcare facilities.
Safety and Health Tips for Expats in Nepal
Nepal has one of the highest average elevations in the world, which means expats have a high possibility of running into acute mountain sickness (AMS). AMS, or altitude sickness, is set on by the lack of oxygen at altitudes of over 2500 meters. Trekking the mountain ranges often brings AMS with it.
AMS symptoms can be mild or severe and can crop up with little to no warning. It occurs because less oxygen reaches the muscles and brain requiring the lungs and heart to work harder and faster. AMS has been fatal at 3000 meters but usually is found fatal above altitudes of 3500 meters.
The best way to prevent AMS is to avoid rapid ascents to higher altitudes. When traveling to the higher altitude locations of Nepal via bus or plane, make sure to take it easy for three days after you arrive to allow your body to adjust to the smaller amount of oxygen.
It is strongly recommended that expats visiting Nepal purchase a travel insurance policy, while those staying longer term should choose an international health insurance policy. This will help preserve their health and financial security while trekking through Nepal.
Let the insurance experts at Pacific Prime assist you with finding international health insurance for Nepal. Leveraging our close relationships with major insurers all over the world, we offer professional advice and free plan comparisons to our clients. We also provide the benefit of unbiased advice.
No matter what your budget is or what your requirements are, our professional consultants can match you with a policy that fits you best. Our policies can cover a wide range of services including dental, maternity, inpatient services, and many more aspects. Please contact us today for a free consultation or click here for a free quote.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Nepal have free healthcare for expats?
Nepal does not offer free healthcare for expats. The government has installed a public insurance plan, but the coverage still has yet to reach country-wide. Expats will have to purchase private insurance to keep themselves protected in Nepal.
Should I get travel insurance for Nepal?
Travel insurance is a necessity for those visiting Nepal on vacations or short-term trips. The country is home to some beautiful and dangerous tourist activities, like trekking Mount Everest. A travel insurance policy that covers medical emergencies and evacuation is a must.