Andorran Medical Insurance
Andorra, officially known as the Principality of Andorra is a small landlocked country nestled in the Easter Pyrenees between France and Spain in South Western Europe. With an area of 468 Km² Andorra is ranked the sixth smallest country in Europe and has a population of approximately 85,015, the terrain is mountainous with narrow valleys. The capital city and only town, Andorra la Vella, is the highest city in Europe at an elevation of 1,023 meters. The climate is temperate, dry and cool with high snow fall in winter.
Catalan is the official spoken language within the country, however French, Portuguese and Spanish are commonly used with English being spoken in tourist areas. Although Andorra is not a member of the European Union the currency is the Euro.
The main economic activity is tourism, accounting for some 80% of gross domestic product; an estimated 11 million tourists visit the country each year owing to Andorra’s tax free status, and summer and winter sport activities. Most food is imported as there is limited arable land. The banking sector generates a large portion of GDP due to Andorra status as a tax haven.
In response to the transnational influenza epidemic of 1918 the Andorran health care system was created based on a social insurance model to provide healthcare services to Andorran citizens. According to Article 30 of the Constitution “The right to health protection and to receive services to look after persona needs shall be respected. With that intent the State shall guarantee a system of Social Security”. Health care services are available from both the private and public sector.
Andorra’s health care system, Caixa Andorrana de Seguretat Social, or CASS for short, is ranked number four in the world in the areas of equality, efficiency and entrance care according to a 2010 Commonwealth Funded report. Surpassing standards in countries like the United States, UK, Austria and Japan.
Approximately 92% of the population is covered by CASS which is funded by employee and employer contributions. CASS covers the cost of hospital visits up to 90 percent, 75 percent of out-patient visits and 100 percent of work related accidents; with the outstanding costs being covered by private health insurance. For non residents comprehensive private Andorra medical insurance should be purchased or they will have to pay for services themselves.
The Andorran Hospital Centre, or CHA, in the town of Escaldes-Engordany is the only hospital in Andorra. The facilities of the hospital are used by both public and private physicians. The health care system also boasts a private geriatric centre, 10 health centres, 54 pharmacies, 203 physicians. Out-patient services and primary care is mainly performed by physicians in their privately funded offices. Around 25% of the population travel abroad, mainly to France or Spain, to avail of medical services there.
Since 1997 Andorra’s Ministry of Health and Welfare has worked with WHO experts from the European regional office revising policy in the areas of drinking water quality, food and waste management, and a national and environmental health plan. This was relationship was developed due to an outbreak of tuberculosis between 1989 and 1993. The outbreak of Tuberculosis within the country prompted the government to form a committee responsible for the prevention of the disease. The program gained success when WHO advisors developed a new approach to the treatment of immigrants and implementation of school policy.
Tumours, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases are reported to cause the most deaths within the Andorran population. The life expectancy of Andorran females is 82.9 years old compared to 76.2 year old for Andorran males. Birth rates remain higher than the death rate with an average birth rate of 1.3 births per woman. The infant mortality rate in 2001 was 1.1 per one thousand births. The Ministry of Heath and Welfare is currently constructing a program to tackle the abuse of drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
While there are no special health precautions advised for Andorra, rabies is widely present within the country and those who believe they are at high risk of contracting the disease should consider appropriate vaccinations. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is accepted in all European Union countries does not apply in Andorra as it is not a member of the Union. It is therefore imperative that non-residents purchase a comprehensive medical insurance policy before arrival, to avoid unnecessary medical expenses they might incur. In the event of emergency evacuation, for example, the cost of repatriation by helicopter after a serious accident could well exceed US$21,000.
Avalanches are a risk from mid-winter to early summer with landslides occurring after periods of heavy rain. Earthquakes remain a threat in the Pyrenees region. In 1999 an earthquake of magnitude 4.2 on the Richter scale occurred in France which was felt in Andorra. While precautionary measures such as snow clearing by blast control, snow fencing, compacting and deflectors are in operation, travellers are advised to remain up to date with local avalanche alerts and weather forecast.
The Andorra emergency services can be contacted by dialling 112 for general emergency, 110 for police, 118 for fire brigade and 116 for medical emergency services.
Andorra is considered a safe destination with low rates of street crime reported; nevertheless, terrorist attacks by ETA or al-Qaida still remain a threat across Europe according to the United States Department of State. While ETA in the past has not targeted foreigners, one is advised to exercise caution and ensure that their medical insurance covers acts of terror.
Motorists are advised that under law they are required to carry two red warning triangles, a spare wheel, a reflected jacket, and a full set of spare bulbs along with the necessary tools to carry out repairs and a spare pair of glass if you require them for the purpose of driving. In the case of a breakdown or accident the driver should don the reflective jacket and place a red triangle at the front and rare of the vehicle. If these laws are disregards heavy fines will be imposed.
If you are considering spending any time in Andorra contact Pacific Prime to discuss free of charge, you or your groups health care needs. Pacific Prime can offer a wealth of professional expertise and services. Our tailor made policies suit every budget and health care need no more what state of life you are at. For secure peace of mind for the duration of your stay contact Pacific Prime today.