Montenegro Medical Insurance
Located in southeastern Europe and part of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro is a small middle-income country with a population of about 600,000, with varied terrain ranging from mountains near the Albanian and Serbian borders, to the coastline facing the Adriatic Sea. The name Montenegro comes from the Venetian words for “black mountain” and the country was an important trading site for centuries; now a rapidly-growing market economy, Montenegro boasts per capita GDP of USD11,048. Tourism has begun to recover since the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s and Montenegrin independence from Serbia in 2006.
Today, Montenegro is very much a modern European republic, about 61 percent of its population lives in urban areas. It joined the World Health Organisation (WHO) following independence from Serbia in 2006. In line with most wealthy developed nations, Montenegro’s average life expectancy is 72 years for males and 76 years for females.
Total healthcare expenditure in Montenegro is a relatively low USD117 per capita, which was just a fraction of the European average of about USD2,000; this figure is approximately 6.8 percent of Montenegro’s GDP. Health care is largely funded by payroll contributions of 10.5 percent, paid to the Health Insurance Fund (HIF). The Montenegrin government has, in recent years, undertaken a series of reforms to improve medical service delivery and efficiency. Government expenditure makes up 72.5 percent of total health spending. Out of pocket spending makes up 91 percent of total private expenditure; private Montenegro health insurance makes up an insignificant amount of total healthcare spending.
However, Montenegro’s health care workforce is somewhat understaffed. There are 199 doctors per 100,000 people, compared with a European average of 325. There are 554 nurses and midwives per 100,000, compared to a European average of 681. Public health care predominates; as of 2003 there were eighteen public medical centres, seven general hospitals, three special hospitals, the Clinical Centre of Montenegro, the Institute for Health and the Pharmaceutical Institute of Montenegro. Private medical practices in Montenegro comprise dental clinics, medical centres and pharmacies.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), utilisation of health care services in Montenegro is generally higher than European norms, with 99 percent of all births attended by skilled health care professionals; and measles immunisations provided for 89 percent of one year olds.
As in most developed countries, nearly all Montenegrins have access to improved drinking water and sanitation, although the latter is only available to about 90 percent of rural residents. Tuberculosis infection rates are a very low at 8 infected individuals per 100,000 people, about one fifth of the European average and less than one twentieth of the global norms.
After a transition period in the 1990s with civil unrest and war, Montenegro’s leading health problems today resemble those of most European countries. The country has an aging population, which suffers from many of the diseases of affluence, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, often due to sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy diet and abuse of alcohol and tobacco.
In 2003, Montenegro introduced its “Health Care for All in the XXI Century” strategy to improve the quality and efficiency of health care delivery in the country. The plan maps out a health care strategy through 2020, and aims to further integrate Montenegro into the European health care systems. Legislative, platform and action plans are all covered in the document, and the health policy goals are: “extending life expectancy, improving quality of life relating to health, decreasing differences in health and financial risk insurance.”
Montenegro is also prone to natural and man-made disasters. A major flood in 2010 dislocated thousands of residents, and brought with it a host of infectious disease common to areas affected by floodwater. Although independence from Serbia was via a peaceful election, the region has traditionally been a hotbed of ethnic strife.
Prior to arriving in Montenegro, it is advisable that all expatriates and travellers intending on visiting the country consult with a medical professional specializing in travel medicine. All travellers should ensure that routine vaccinations, such as inoculations against Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR), Hepatitis A and B, DPT, and Polio, should be up to date. There is a limited risk from Rabies within Montenegro and consequently all travellers, especially those who may be exposed to contact with animals, receive a vaccination before departing their home nation. Tickborne encephalitis (TBE) and avian flu have also occurred in the region; precautions include wearing long sleeved clothing, using insect repellent with DEET and using alcohol based hand sanitiser.
As with most destinations, diarrhoea is the most common affliction for travellers. Drink only bottled water and avoid raw foods; over the counter anti-diarrhoeal pills should be used to treat mild cases. Automotive accidents are also a serious problem in Montenegro; drivers unfamiliar with local traffic customs should exercise caution and wear a seatbelt at all times.
Although Montenegro is in many ways a modern European country and is a strong candidate for membership in the European Union, serious medical incidents can require evacuation – usually to Germany – for proper care. Furthermore, corruption is also a serious problem, according to Montenegro’s own health ministry; requesting informal payments for medical services is not uncommon. Private healthcare facilities will usually require payment prior to treating a patient, typically in the form of cash. As such, it is advised that all expatriates in Montenegro obtain a comprehensive international medical insurance policy which provides an emergency evacuation benefit.
Our skilled teams worldwide would be pleased to provide a free consultation on available insurance options, whether you are travelling alone, with your family or with any type of tour group. Our policies cover a wide range of medical services including: dental, maternity, specialist consultation, transportation, inpatient services and more. Contact a Pacific Prime representative for more details and a free medical insurance consultation.