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An Overview of Health Insurance for Foreigners in Vietnam
Digital nomads, immigrants, and expats are all like Vietnam. Living expenses are minimal, and obtaining employment is not too difficult. Vietnam’s economy is among the fastest-growing in the world, with a projected 6.7% GDP growth rate in 2015.

There is still an opportunity for improvement in Vietnam’s healthcare system. Even though the nation is presently striving for universal healthcare, many subpar public facilities remain. Still, there are some indications of progress. For example, Vietnam’s life expectancy increased by two years on average between 2000 and 2012.

Furthermore, over 97% of Vietnamese children receive regular immunizations, one of the highest rates in the world, according to the World Health Organisation. This is the information prospective foreign residents and expats should know regarding health insurance in Vietnam.

An Overview of Health Insurance Plans in Vietnam

Vietnam’s government is working to implement a national health program akin to Thailand’s health insurance scheme. All legal residents would be expected to have access to primary medical care at no cost under such a plan.

One of the objectives of the Master Plan for Universal Coverage is to lower out-of-pocket expenses from the customary 80% to less than 40%.

Local businesses have difficulty locating appropriate healthcare partners to comply with the government’s requirement to provide healthcare coverage for their employees. Still, the system as a whole is gradually modernizing.

To lay the groundwork for a national health data system, an electronic health record management system based on social security codes was implemented in June 2019.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Using the Regional Health Insurance Programme

Utilizing the public health facilities in Vietnam has one crucial benefit. It is significantly less expensive than it would be abroad. A visit to the doctor can only cost a few dollars.

That cheap rate does come with a price, though. Public restrooms lack privacy, are crammed and crowded, lack translators, and use antiquated diagnostic technology. Public health services are either nonexistent or very rudimentary in remote locations.

Most foreigners go to private hospitals. There are typically many bilingual doctors on staff and staff members who speak English. Russian, French, Japanese, and Korean are famous second and third languages.

Patients may anticipate evident, pleasant care, excellent communication, top-notch diagnostic testing, and a respectable level of privacy—even though these facilities may not be as luxurious as those in other nations.

Important Information to Consider When Considering Insurance

There is a significant gap between Vietnam’s rural and urban areas. There is little access to healthcare services in rural Vietnam, and what is there is quite rudimentary. As a result, those who can afford it travel to the city to receive medical care at the better public hospitals.

As a result, the already overcrowded and clogged hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are significantly worse. Particularly for specialized care, it is not unusual for foreigners residing in remote areas of Vietnam to own insurance that covers treatment outside of Vietnam, in Singapore or Thailand.

How Foreigners Can Be Eligible For Vietnam Health Insurance

There isn’t a governmental health insurance program in Vietnam that foreigners can be eligible for. Hopefully, this will not be the case for long.

International health insurance is not a prerequisite for obtaining a work visa or being granted residency for foreign nationals. However, foreign nationals must be in excellent health to be eligible for a work permit.

This implies that foreign nationals need to have a 12-month medical certificate. This Vietnamese law firm provides a helpful article that may tell you more about this practice, what hospitals and clinics offer certifications, and what to expect from them.

Insurance Vietnam Times
Insurance Vietnam Times

Vietnam’s Best Health Insurance for Foreigners and Expats

The Cigna Global plan is an excellent choice for most foreign nationals and residents residing in Japan. Customers can visit any hospital or physician in Vietnam and worldwide, including private establishments. You can select from various coverage and benefit levels and control expenses by adding or removing specific benefit packages.

The Greatest International Health Insurance for Americans Relocating to Vietnam

One popular choice for US citizens residing in Vietnam is the GeoBlue Xplorer package. Once more, you will have access to medical facilities in Vietnam and beyond, such as the USA’s world-renowned Blue Cross/Blue Shield physician network.

Advantages of International Health Insurance

In Vietnam, overcrowding in hospitals is a significant issue. Even in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, most public hospitals operate at capacity. Patients who are admitted thus frequently have to share beds. Not just hospital beds but absolute beds as well. Unfortunately, the practice of bed-sharing in an overcrowded hospital ward was connected to a measles outbreak in 2014 that claimed the lives of 120 children.

Not only does a worldwide medical insurance plan include creature comforts like better facilities. It guarantees that your hospital accommodations are tidy, cozy, and somewhat private. Being so sick, you have to be admitted to the hospital, and the last thing you want is to have to sleep in the same bed as a stranger who is also sick!

What You Should Know About Vietnam’s Public Hospital Procedures

Most public hospitals in Vietnam, like many other nations, do not take foreign insurance. They demand payment upfront, usually before you visit with the physician, and you then file your receipts with your insurance company after the event. Certain private hospitals also fit this description.

Another cash-focused practice that may be confusing to foreigners exists in public hospitals. Giving doctors and nurses financial gifts, also referred to as appreciation envelopes, is a custom that dates back many years.

Even though the sum in question is tiny—typically between $5 and $25—it is effectively a bribe paid to get better and quicker service.

This is usually a voluntary practice. According to World Bank research from 2012, 76% of people who gave out envelopes did so without being asked. However, the little sums in the envelopes add up to a significant expense for the patients and their families.

This tension was one of the driving forces behind the 2011 hospital “Say no to envelopes” campaign in Hanoi.

If an overseas patient is treated at a public hospital, they won’t be expected to provide envelopes. It won’t be required of them to be aware of the practice. Nevertheless, additional surreptitious costs will likely end on the invoice.

See also: Healthcare System in Vietnam.

How Typical Medical Visits in Vietnam Operate for Foreigners

In Vietnam, many people only visit the hospital or clinic in an emergency and place little focus on preventative care. Internationally trained doctors who speak English must be seen in private hospitals or clinics for foreigners.

How to Locate a Vietnamese Family Doctor

Family Medical Practise in Hanoi, which has facilities in Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, is an excellent choice for foreigners. They provide comprehensive care, although their services are more expensive than those of community clinics. They provide pediatrics, physiotherapy, wellness exams, and inpatient and outpatient care. They also offer an ambulance service and an emergency hotline.

Vietnam’s Renewing Prescriptions

Vietnam does not honor foreign prescriptions. You must visit a local clinic and obtain a local prescription to refill your medication. As an alternative, inquire with your new local drugstore. In Vietnam, many drugs that are sold over-the-counter in North America or Europe require a prescription. Additionally, if the prescription drugs are in their original packaging with the pharmacy label still on them, foreigners moving to Vietnam are allowed to bring a sizable supply of them. Your home doctor can provide you with a year’s worth of your favorite brand before you relocate, which reduces the number of times you have to worry about refills.

Leading Vietnamese Hospitals that Take International Insurance

Hospital Franco-Vietnamese (FV Hospital)

French Hospital in Hanoi

Hospital at Hoan My Da Nang

Medical Services Hoi An

International Hospital Vinmec