An expat guide to healthcare and health insurance in Tunisia
Are you researching an expat health insurance for Tunisia? It is important to learn about the local healthcare system first.
Whether you are moving to Tunisia or you are already living there as an expat, read our guide to the Tunisian healthcare system, your different options of medical insurance for Tunisia and an overview of the average cost of local healthcare.
- Total population (2017): 11.523 million
- Gross national income per capita (PPP international $, 2017): 11,490
- Life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2016): 74/78
- Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population, 2016): 111/71
- Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2014): 785
- Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2014): 7.0
Healthcare in Tunisia for expats
The Tunisian healthcare system is one of the most developed in Africa, with a level of quality equivalent to that of many European countries. However, there are large disparities between rural and urban areas and between public and private sectors.
Tunisian social security
Tunisian social security covers salaried workers against all risks, including unemployment. The health insurance scheme in Tunisia is managed by the National Health Insurance Fund (the Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Maladie or CNAM). It is compulsory for all, including foreigners residing and working in Tunisia. Registration is organised by your employer, while self-employed expats go through a different system and register themselves.
Who is the Tunisian public health insurance for?
Tunisian health insurance covers the insured person and his or her dependents: a spouse and/or dependent children who do not benefit from any medical coverage. To be eligible for sickness and maternity insurance benefits, the insured person must have worked either a minimum of 50 days during the previous two quarters or a minimum of 80 days in the last four quarters.
What does Tunisian public health insurance cover?
Tunisian health insurance pays for healthcare in public institutions and private institutions which are classed as ‘conventional’ in their pricing. Those insured contribute to their health expenses through a user fee.
Certain serious or chronic diseases are 100% covered by health insurance, regardless of whether the care was provided in a public or private institution.
Limitations of the Tunisian public health system
- Inequalities between rural and urban areas: Unlike large cities such as Tunis and Sfax, rural medical infrastructures are not at the level of Western standards. Often, patients must be moved to a big city to receive medical treatment.
- Inequalities between the public and private sectors: 70% of the country’s modern medical equipment is owned and used by the private sector. Public hospitals are underfunded and understaffed, resulting in an overload of patients and long waiting times.
- It is strongly recommended to seek treatment in private hospitals and clinics for specialised treatments, but these establishments are expensive and are located mainly in large cities.
- Travellers and expats must pay for their treatments in advance, so it is advisable to have private health insurance.
International health insurance for expats in Tunisia
An international health insurance for Tunisia is more suited to the expat lifestyle than a local private medical insurance.
With international health insurance, if you decide to seek treatment in your country of origin or another country in the case of a specific treatment, your medical expenses will be covered. Moreover, if after Tunisia you move to another country, your expat health insurance can follow you, unlike a Tunisian health insurance which is only valid locally.
Please note: taking out international health insurance does not exempt you from registering with the Tunisian healthcare system if it is obligatory for you.
What is the best health insurance for expats in Tunisia?
The best health insurance in Tunisia for one expat might not be the best for you, as everyone has different needs and criteria.
In order to find which one is the best health insurance in Tunisia for you, it is important to consider several aspects such as your medical history, your age, your specific needs in terms of medical cover, your situation in Tunisia, alongside other parameters.
Overview of medical costs in Tunisia
In the public health sector, the conventional price of a consultation with a general practitioner is 18 dinars (around $6 US dollars, or £4) and a specialist doctor is 30 dinars ($10 or £8).
In the private sector, the cost of an appointment with a general practitioner is 30 to 35 dinars ($10-$12 or £8-£9), 50 to 90 dinars ($17-$31 or £13-£24) for a specialist.
For home visits by a general practitioner the price is around 50 to 60 dinars ($17-$20 or £13-£16).
A dental appointment is around 82-115 dinars ($28-$40 or £22-£31) and the fitting of a crown is around 660-1154 ($228-$400 or £177-£310).
A night in a private hospital in a single room costs between 100 and 180 dinars ($34-$62 or £27-£48). Note that this does not include treatments, nursing fees and doctors. In a private hospital without health insurance, care can easily amount to several thousand dollars/pounds.
What is the cost of private health insurance cost in Tunisia?
Such as with any type of health insurance, the price of medical insurance for expats in Tunisia varies greatly depending on the personal situation, the age and the medical history of each individual as well as other parameters.
No specific vaccination is required to enter Tunisia but it is recommended to have an up-to-date vaccination schedule. Vaccinations against hepatitis B, rabies and typhoid may be advised depending on the conditions of your stay.
Ambulance/emergency medical services: 190; Police: 197; Firefighters: 198
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Visitors staying for more than 6 months in the UK must pay an ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’. Since Brexit, European citizens are also included.