Egypt is not a very popular destination with expatriates. Most Westerners will find the country lacking in more ways than one. While in Egypt, you are prone to a myriad of potential health problems—specifically respiratory ailments due to high levels of pollution. Sanitation-related illnesses are also common. But, if you are an expat in Egypt, we are sure you will have an enriching time in this land of many monuments. While you are here, we recommend you keep healthcare high on your priority list.
While you might qualify for the local, free medical care offered by the government, your travel advisors would recommend you have Egypt private health insurance. However, don't just purchase the first insurance policy that you come across. Let us first discuss why, exactly, it is in your best interest to have Egypt expat health insurance.
The Egyptian Healthcare System
The Ministry of Health runs the majority of healthcare facilities in Egypt, including a number of hospitals in urban areas and rural clinics. These government-run facilities offer medical care to expats and citizens alike, and it is free for citizens. Yet, most citizens prefer to pay out of pocket.
Problems of the Public System
- The availability of medical professionals is low. In some areas, the doctor-to-patient ratio is as low as 1 in 500.
- Public hospitals lack modern technological equipment and machines.
- The waiting times are long at both urban and rural facilities.
- There is a lack of funding. This, coupled with the need to cater to a huge number of people, causes a lack of quality.
- The maintenance of the facilities is low. Thus, the lower levels of hygiene and inadequate ventilation.
Overworked and under-trained staff, outdated technology, and overcrowding are just some of the factors that make public healthcare facilities unsatisfactory.
Even if you qualify for the free facility as an expat, we recommend that you steer clear of public healthcare. It is better to seek out private facilities in bigger cities, preferably Cairo.
Egypt Public Health Insurance
There is no government-offered Egypt public health insurance policy, as such. However, there are two main insurance providers that operate under government supervision. They have independent operations and funding.
- Health Insurance Organization (HIO): HIO covers students, employed persons, and widows. The premiums are collected through employer payroll and employee salaries. They have an entire network of hospitals and clinics across the country. They also partner with private hospitals to bridge the coverage gap.
- Curative Care Organization (CCO): The CCO doesn’t operate nationwide. It covers only specific Egyptian governorates. They include: Cairo, Kalyubia, Alexandria, Damietta, Port Said, and Kafr el-Sheikh. It works on contracts with individuals, companies, and government agencies. The premiums differ according to the level of care offered.
Both these agencies govern mandatory social insurance and the Egyptian public health insurance. Venturing into the public healthcare system is rarely on an expat’s list of recommended activities.
If you need medical care, the best option would be to visit private healthcare providers in Cairo. You should opt for Egyptian private health insurance to cover this cost.
If you need intensive care or specialized medical attention, flying out to other locations with better facilities would be wise. Dubai is a preferred hub for Egyptians and expats to get proper medical care. These medical evacuation costs will also be covered under your Egypt expatriate health insurance.
The Private Sector
If you are visiting a private clinic or hospital for any kind of medical needs in Egypt, you might see people paying cash. This may sound absurd if you are from the Western part of the world. While medical care is comparatively affordable in Egypt when compared to the West, bills can still pile up fast. Egypt expat health insurance will serve the dual purpose of saving your bank balance from drying up and you from having to pay cash up front.
The private healthcare facilities in Egypt might not be of world-class standard, but they are certainly fair enough for non-emergency care. If you have expat health insurance and cost is not a concern, you can take advantage of the best private care Egypt has to offer.
In the private sector, most medical professionals are bilingual. You will not find it hard to find English-speaking experts who offer quality services. But, again, this only applies as far as non-emergency care.
We urge you to invest in expat health insurance in Egypt so that you can use the repatriation or medical evacuation benefits to get intensive and specialized care in other countries. The improvement in the healthcare sector in Egypt has been tremendous since the country gained independence in 1953. But, they have yet to reach the international standard of care that Western expats are used to.
Egypt expatriate health insurance is a must-have. You should look for international insurance providers before you arrive in the country. It is always best to be prepared for even the worst-case scenarios.
Buying Expat Health Insurance in Egypt
Buying an expat health insurance policy in Egypt is not a big deal. But only if you know what to look for and where.
While buying an expat health insurance, keep the following three things in mind.
- The policy you pick should offer repatriation and medical evacuation coverage.
- The policy you pick should have enough monetary coverage for major diseases and conditions like heart problems, cancer, and tumors. You can add dental, maternity, and even alternative treatment coverage. This includes higher premiums.
- The policy you pick should NOT be for cost-saving purposes. Don’t cut corners when it comes to healthcare. Explore, compare, and look around the market for options. But, don’t settle for less. Find comprehensive coverage and invest in that.
Have a healthy stay in Egypt—secured with the right expat health insurance.