International Health Insurance for Expats in Sri Lanka
Health Insurance in Sri Lanka for Expats and Foreigners
International health insurance is a wise choice for expats in Sri Lanka as it protects their health and finances while abroad. While travel insurance is not mandatory in Sri Lanka to enter the country, it is still encouraged for those visiting.
International health insurance is important to foreigners in Sri Lanka as it will provide them access to high-quality private healthcare. For expats looking to relocate to Sri Lanka or just visit temporarily, the insurance experts at Pacific Prime have a selection of insurance plans available.
This guide offers details on Sri Lanka's healthcare system and the available health insurance choices for expats. Keep reading to learn more, or click here for a commitment-free, complimentary quote.
The Healthcare System in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka offers free and universal healthcare to its citizens and visitors. Comprised of a public and private healthcare sector, most of the hospitals and health facilities are located near the capital of Colombo.
Sri Lanka’s standard of medical treatment is lower than that of Western nations. Healthcare facilities and emergency services are rather limited outside Colombo, though they are well-equipped within the capital. As a result, expats in rural areas will have less access to quality healthcare.
Private healthcare offers a solution to the long queues and lesser quality care that is typical of public healthcare. Public hospitals often have long wait times for specialized services, while private specialists can usually see patients much quicker.
Ayurveda, a traditional and ancient form of medicine, is still practiced regularly in the country.
How Expats Can Use the Medical Facilities in Sri Lanka
Expats can use public hospitals free of charge in Sri Lanka but will have to do due diligence to find care with English-speaking doctors. Some hospitals near the capital cater to international patients, such as Nawaloka Hospital, which has English-speaking staff.
Expats looking for healthcare with higher standards of care and shorter wait times will find that in the private health sector of Sri Lanka. Expats can search online for private hospitals near them in Sri Lanka, or they can call their insurance provider and ask for a list of options.
Medical Emergencies in Sri Lanka
Colombo and other cities offer hospitals with emergency care, but in the case of severe injury or illness, expats may want to relocate to a better-equipped hospital in Singapore or Thailand. In that case, an insurance policy that covers medical evacuation will save expats hundreds to thousands.
The emergency number in Sri Lanka is 110.
Health Insurance Options for Expats in Sri Lanka
Expats in Sri Lanka are encouraged to secure an international health insurance plan for their financial protection. Expats looking to stay long-term in Sri Lanka should purchase an international health insurance policy, while those only visiting short-term can purchase travel insurance.
International Health Insurance
International health insurance plans offer expats in Sri Lanka a wide selection of customizable benefits and global coverage. Plans can be tailored to fit expats' needs according to their lifestyle and situation, and expats can choose coverage options based on factors like age and health.
General coverage in international health insurance plans includes:
- Inpatient and outpatient services
- Medical emergency and evacuation services
Additional riders and benefits can be purchased and added to plans to make the best fit for any expat in Sri Lanka, including dental, vision, and preventative care.
Expats visiting Sri Lanka on vacation or other short-term travel can use a travel insurance policy to protect them from specific financial risks and losses that may arise during their trip. These losses may include lost luggage, canceled flights, and emergency medical services.
While travel insurance is not required to enter Sri Lanka, it is strongly recommended for all visitors. With the inconsistent healthcare access in rural areas and the risks that accompany certain popular activities like surfing, travel insurance offers valuable coverage.
The right travel insurance will depend on your budget and your planned activities. Additionally, travel insurance can offer medical emergency coverage and medical evacuation. This is especially necessary for expats in rural Sri Lanka without adequate healthcare access.
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 Sri Lanka - Plans and Coverage
Among the best international health insurance providers catering to expats in Sri Lanka are Cigna, Allianz, and more. Below, we'll provide a short overview of each provider, and their travel insurance plans if they offer any.
Cigna Global provides flexible insurance plans to expats in Sri Lanka 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
Allianz offers comprehensive insurance plans in Sri Lanka to cater to all expats’ needs. Riders are available to be purchased and attached to any basic policy that Allianz approves. These riders can offer coverage for accidents and medical evacuation.
Allianz offers a selection of plans with differing levels of coverage and prices. The basic coverage across all their plans includes:
- Inpatient costs
- Diagnostics and laboratory tests
- Ambulance transport
- Cancer treatment
Aetna offers expats in Sri Lanka flexible and customizable benefits plans with additional options for medical, vision, dental, and pharmacy coverage. They cater to expats looking for long-term healthcare solutions 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
Bupa Global offers expats in Sri Lanka 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 Sri Lanka 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
AXA global health insurance is a great choice for expats in Sri Lanka with its range of differing coverage and customizable additional benefits. They offer short-term international health insurance plans, for trips averaging around 3-11 months.
For long-term health plans, they offer five categories of coverage with their Foundation, Standard, Comprehensive, Prestige, and Prestige Plus plans. Some examples of shared coverage by all AXA insurance plans include:
- Hospital charges and surgery
- Emergency coverage
- Medical evacuation and repatriation
- Cancer treatment
- Ambulance transport
Geoblue offers an Xplorer health insurance plan that comes in Essential or Premier. These plans were created for expats traveling from the United States for business, leisure, or study trips. Expats can choose plans that include the United States in their coverage or not.
They also offer travel insurance policies. There’s Voyager, their single-trip policy, and Trekker, their multi-trip policy. Both plans have different coverage and limit options.
The shared features across their long-term Xplorer plans are:
- Diagnostic lab work and X-rays
- Inpatient medical emergencies
- Emergency evacuation and repatriation
- Yearly physicals
MSH International has almost 50 years of experience 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
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 Sri Lanka 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 Health Insurance in Sri Lanka
Retirees settling in Sri Lanka should choose 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 Sri Lanka. 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.
Travel Risks and Precautions for Expats in Sri Lanka
Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, filariasis, and chikungunya fever are common in Sri Lanka. It’s recommended for those living in or traveling around Sri Lanka to wear insect repellent and mosquito-proof their accommodation.
Infectious diseases like rabies, hepatitis, typhoid, and leptospirosis, are also widespread.
Ensure you’re up to date with vaccines and stock up on malaria prophylactics.
Expats should also avoid drinking tap water or using ice cubes during their time in the country. Travelers and expats should stick to bottled water and always boil tap water before drinking.
Expats in Sri Lanka can protect themselves from severe financial risks by purchasing an international health insurance policy. While public healthcare is free for foreigners, the wait times for such services are usually incredibly drawn out.
Let the experts at Pacific Prime help you choose the best international health insurance plan for your time in Sri Lanka. As a broker, we aren’t tied to one specific insurance provider, which allows us to guarantee impartial and unbiased advice for our clients.
Pacific Prime offers a wide range of policies to meet your needs, whether that is an individual policy or one for your entire family. Contact our advisors today or start comparing plans directly with our free tool.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is travel insurance required for expats in Sri Lanka?
Travel insurance is not required in Sri Lanka, but some form of insurance is strongly recommended for all expats or visitors. Expats planning on staying long-term in the country should secure an international health insurance plan, while short-term visitors can choose a travel insurance plan.
What does international health insurance cover?
International health insurance can cover hospitalization, doctor visits, prescription medications, and emergency medical services. Additionally, some plans may offer coverage for preventive care, maternity services, and dental or optical care.