Health insurance in Tunisia

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Updated 2022-08-07 15:20

Tunisia has one of the most developed healthcare systems in Africa. In big cities, the level of healthcare is often very close to that of European countries. However, the quality of healthcare is not the same in urban and rural areas as well as in private and public establishments.

This is why, before you make the decision to settle in Tunisia, it's essential that you do some research on your healthcare options in the country.

The Tunisian healthcare system

The healthcare system in Tunisia is managed by Caisse Nationale d'Assurance Maladie. It is obligatory for all Tunisian citizens as well as foreign residents to register with CNAM to get access to local healthcare.

If you are officially employed in Tunisia, your CNAM registration will be managed by your employer. If you are self-employed, on the other hand, you will need to go through the procedures on your own.

Tunisian healthcare is free for all Tunisian citizens. However, this is not the case for expats who don't have access to free healthcare. Instead, as an expat in Tunisia, you will need to make sure that you have effective health insurance that will cover your basic medical needs as well as protect you in case of emergencies.

Note that in a lot of hospitals in Tunisia, you will be asked for payment immediately, sometimes even before receiving treatment. This is why it is strongly advised that you have your insurance in place ? even if you are only in the country for a short time. Private health insurance will not only keep you safe in emergencies in Tunisia and help you manage unforeseen expenses but also provide you with access to private clinics in the country.

As we've mentioned earlier, in most cases, you will be asked to pay for the medical services you've been provided with on the spot. What's more, you may often be asked to pay in cash. In this case, make sure you keep proof of medical expenses to ensure you can claim the expenses with the insurance company.

Public or private healthcare in Tunisia

If you have valid health insurance, you will be able to receive treatment in both public and private hospitals in Tunisia.

The staff at most public hospitals in the country speak Arabic, French and English, so communication shouldn't be an issue. However, as in most countries, public healthcare facilities have their limitations.

The faculties at public hospitals in Tunisia are generally not as good as at private clinics. In fact, 70% of Tunisia's modern medical equipment is currently in the ownership of the private sector. Public hospitals, on the other hand, often remain underfunded and overloaded with patients. Because of this, you should be ready for a long waiting list when seeking medical care in a public hospital. Plus, you won't be able to select your doctor.

Private hospitals, on the other hand, are continuously expanding in terms of infrastructure, capacity and healthcare personnel. The majority of private clinics in Tunisia will have English-speaking personnel who will be able to guide you through the procedures. Some private clinics in Tunisia, especially in major cities, easily measure up to western healthcare standards.

Another important thing to note is that you may find substantial discrepancies between the leaves of healthcare in big cities and urban areas.

Because of all of the above, expats in Tunisia are generally advised to seek treatment in a private hospital and, preferably, in a large developed city. Plus, as travelers and expats are often asked to pay for their treatments in advance, it is advisable that you have private health insurance.

How to choose health insurance for Tunisia: local or international provider?

In most cases, you would do better by getting international healthcare insurance for your stay in Tunisia.

International healthcare policies tend to be better at taking into account the specific needs that expats in Tunisia might have. Having an international policy will make managing healthcare issues in Tunisia easier and will provide you with access to English- speaking medical personnel.

What's more, with some providers, you will be able to benefit from the waiver of advanced payments in parent establishments, which you would be required to make otherwise.

Another benefit of international healthcare insurance is that it will also keep you covered outside of Tunisia and offer additional guarantees such as repatriation assistance.

Important:

If you are a resident in Tunisia, having an international medical policy won't exempt you from the requirement to join Caisse Nationale d'Assurance Maladie (CNAM) and make regular contributions.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.