Your guide to health insurance for the Marshall Islands
The Marshall Islands are spread over several thousand square miles of the Pacific, with 29 low-lying coral atolls, over 1200 islands and five major islands in total. The official name is the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and is home to many diving spots, exotic coral reefs, WWII wrecks, and beautiful beaches. The nominal capital of the republic is Majuro.
The RMI has a population of over 53,000 people and is served by a healthcare system consisting of hospitals and medical centers. Like many of its Pacific island counterparts, the Marshall Islands are burdened with numerous infectious and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). International healthcare centers can be difficult to reach and places like Hawaii and the Fiji Islands can be thousands of kilometers away. It is therefore recommended for travelers and expats traveling to the Marshalls Islands to have comprehensive international health insurance cover from an insurance broker, like Pacific Prime, before moving over to the Marshall Islands.
This short guide offers a summary of the health situation and healthcare system within the Marshall Island for expats residing or traveling in the country. Read on to learn more, or click the button below to obtain a no-obligation, free health insurance quote.
The health situation in the RMI
The RMI struggles with diabetes-related diseases and cancer remains the leading cause of death. Sixty years ago, diabetes was virtually unknown in the Marshall Islands. The islanders were slim, physically active and lived off the land and sea. Their diet consisted of fish, seafood, and edible plants, such as coconut, breadfruit, taro, bananas, and leafy greens.
Today, the high consumption of imported canned and instant food, lack of physical exercise and the use of tobacco products are associated with the high prevalence of NCDs and obesity. Tuberculosis (TB) is also a leading cause of death, and the country has reported multidrug-resistant TB.
The healthcare system in the Marshall Islands
The Ministry of Health works collaboratively with the Community Health Councils to provide healthcare services across the Marshall Islands. These services are supported by two hospitals, Leroj Atama in Majuro, and Leroj Kitlang in Ebeye. Also, there are 58 health care centers in the outer surrounding atolls and islands. These healthcare centers provide primary, secondary, and limited tertiary care for:
- Disease screening
- Chronic and infectious disease management
- Prenatal, diabetic and hypertension treatment, family planning and skilled birth attendance
- Child health surveillance
- Management and referral to a hospital for acute cases
- Health education in clinics and in schools
The Ministry of Health in 2017, introduced a dynamic three-year rolling plan, the 3-Year Rolling Strategic Plan 2017–2019. The priorities of the strategic plan are to:
- Secure high-quality health care in the outer islands
- Achieve universal access to high-quality care for all people with communicable diseases; provide integrated NCD services along with the tools and support that people need to manage their health
- Strengthen national capacity to deliver high-quality maternal, infant, child, and adolescent health
- Strengthen community-based interventions for family resource management
- Increase access to community-based care and support for adults and children with mental illness and/or substance use disorders through a network of service providers that are committed to a person-centered and recovery-oriented system of care
- Increase immunization rates and reduce preventable infectious diseases
- Promote and educate the public on healthy lifestyle changes
- Provide efficient and effective administrative and coordinated functions of preventive and public health care services
Recommended vaccinations and health information for expats and visitors
There are a number of communicable diseases that are easily spread by insects, such as Mosquitoes.
Like many of the islands in the Pacific, the Marshall Islands are plagued by the presence of dengue fever. Travelers and expatriates should take extra measures to avoid being bitten while in the country. Mosquito repellent or devices to repel are recommended.
The RMI at present has occurrences of TB, with reports in 2011 of people being infected with multi-drug resistant TB as well. It is important for expatriates to have up-to-date vaccinations against TB before traveling to the Marshall Islands. The CDC has also recommended vaccinations for Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B as there is a small presence of these diseases within the islands.
Medical evacuation plan
For an expatriate or tourist, it is important to consider the options for evacuation from the Marshall Islands, in case of emergencies or for necessary treatment that the hospitals and medical centers cannot provide. Discuss with an international health insurance provider, such as Pacific Prime, about medical evacuation plans to supplement international health insurance.
Risk of natural disasters
The RMI’s remote location within the Pacific region makes it highly susceptible to natural disasters. The country has been affected by disasters, such as cyclones, floods, hurricanes, and severe droughts. Thus, having an emergency medical evacuation plan is highly recommended before leaving for the Marshall Islands.
How to find the best health insurance for expats and travelers
With almost two decades of extensive experience gained from across the globe, Pacific Prime can assist with any health insurance needs in the Marshall Islands. By leveraging our close relationships with major international insurers, we offer professional advice and free plan comparisons to our clients.
No matter what your budget is, or what your requirements are, our professional consultants can match you with a policy that best fits you or your group. Our policies can cover a wide range of services, including dental, maternity, specialist consultation, health emergency transportation, inpatient services, and many more aspects.
Expatriates with family members can also secure international cover for the whole family. For international students or travelers in search of international health insurance or travel insurance, Pacific Prime is the go-to insurance intermediary for the best impartial advice and guidance.
Contact us today for a free consultation!