Last Updated on by Talita
Have you ever thought about living in the Bahamas and changing your life journey? It’s important you know about how to get good health coverage in your new country. Keep reading here to know everything to ensure your safety in case of any emergencies!
There are several things you need to know well to prepare for country change – have a place to stay, understand the various bureaucracies, look for jobs, secure your tickets, go after learning the new language…
But one detail that people sometimes overlook is having and securing health coverage.
The Bahamas, as well as being a paradise country, has a well-equipped public health system with advanced medical infrastructure and trained medical professionals. The country’s health system is considered excellent in terms of services.
But in addition to talking about your international health insurance options for an expatriate in the Bahamas, let’s first talk a little bit about how the Bahamian health system is structured, what is the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance, what the coverage of insurance plans, and more.
(And make sure to stay until the end of the article to learn more about the different types of visas you can start living, studying and working in the Bahamas!)
Table of Contents
- 1 How does the health system in the Bahamas work?
- 2 Why hire international health insurance for expats in the Bahamas?
- 3 Why can’t I get travel insurance when I move to the Bahamas? What is the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance?
- 4 What are the 7 best health insurance for expats and immigrants in the Bahamas?
- 6 2. IMG
- 7 3. Now Health International
- 9 4. Aetna (acquired by AllianzCare)
- 9.0.2 Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- 9.0.3 Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- 9.0.5 Benefits of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwriters:
- 9.0.6 Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwritres:
- 12 6. SafetyWing
- 13 7. Foyer Global Health
- 15 – GeoBlue
- 18 Types of Bahamense visa
How does the health system in the Bahamas work?
Regardless of the country you move to, you need to make sure you know how the health system works. Especially in a place like the Bahamas, to know if the public system provides coverage for you.
The Bahamas does provide the medical structure to everyone, expatriates, workers, if you have dual citizenship or if you are just a tourist, you can still have access to the structure in the same way as any native citizen. NHI Bahamas was created in 2016 with the goal of being affordable and modern.
Costs compared to the United States are considered 40% lower, so charging for services is not too heavy in the pocket.
The NHI program has some limitations. It does not cover, for example, care abroad, pharmacy services or other services provided by specialists. The average is that hospitals and clinics tend to always charge the same values.
But, those who have residency and are a resident of the Bahamas can register at local health centers to receive an user number within the public health system.
In the end, even having a good public health support structure, relying only on this system may not meet your needs in emergencies and be expensive.
Why hire international health insurance for expats in the Bahamas?
Most Bahamian residents do not have private coverage, but if you plan to live for a long time in the country a private health insurance can cover any cost for you.
Therefore, it is important that you ensure yourself with a cover like one of the ones I speak in the list below 🙂
An international health plan allows much more tranquility for you in your new life in this heavenly place. Even more so being in a country that is new and different from yours, with laws, structures and a language that you may not know, and high health costs.
Therefore, having an international health insurance coverage will give you the assurance that you are safe under any unexpected situation or emergencies. In addition, there are several other benefits that you will have with an international plan (as I will say in the next question).
As an immigrant in the Bahamas, should I get an international health plan like the ones in the list below?
In the end, this is a completely individual choice for you, as it depends on your specific needs, the coverage you will need for your problems and/or concerns, the length of your stay in the Bahamas and checking out the available options of the national plans.
An international health insurance plan must meet your coverage requirements in the Bahamas. If you choose to get an international plan, be sure to check with the embassies of the Bahamense government to see if there is minimum insurance coverage required.
I have never lived or lived in the Bahamas, but from my experiences, I can tell you that the companies below can provide you with what you need, I will talk more about them during the article.
With that in mind, below are some of the reasons you might want to choose an international health insurance plan instead of using public coverage:
- Compared to the costs you may have to pay, international health insurance may have lower monthly fees
- International health insurance may be easier to use if your stay is short in the Bahamas (as well as being mandatory for travelers who will be short in the country)
- International health insurance has greater flexibility (this is important if you are not sure how long you will be staying in the Bahamas as it is easy for you to renew, extend or cancel your policy)
- International health insurance offers coverage in other countries, not only in Bahamense territory (so they are “international” health insurance)
Who do these international health insurance services cover?
The health insurance companies I will list below are for citizens living in the Bahamas as expatriates, immigrants, workers, or even students:
- Citizens of the European Union (Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Belgian, Swedish)
- British (English, Scottish, Welsh, Irish)
- New Zealanders
- And for citizens of almost any other country
In addition to expatriates/immigrants residing in the Bahamas, these companies also operate for residents living in:
- The United States
- Europe (EU and UK)
- And for expats living in almost any other country in the world
In general, as they are plans and international companies, they can be used by virtually anyone anywhere, since they have global coverage!
Why can’t I get travel insurance when I move to the Bahamas? What is the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance?
Travel insurance is important and necessary for any type of trip, since it will not only cover problems that you can go through in case of unexpected emergencies and necessarily medical problems, but also for any emergency with your trip, as lost baggage or flight cancellation.
It is important to know that travel insurance is not ideal for immigrants’ needs. Although it is possible to have travel insurance for longer periods, it is only for travelers with temporary stays in a country. Travel insurance covers are not valid for someone who will stay in another country for the long term.
So, it is extremely necessary to choose an insurance plan that specifically covers expatriates. And that’s where I’ll help you with the list below.
What are the 7 best health insurance for expats and immigrants in the Bahamas?
Finding the perfect health plan can be very stressful. In order to facilitate this process, look at the following table with a comparison of the companies I will recommend in the list. Thus, you can quickly check the advantages and disadvantages of each and choose what fits best for you!
After the table, I will show a detailed description of each of the companies, their plans, benefits and more!
Even so, the tip I give is that you make a quick online budget with all the companies I suggest here. It may take a while to do this, but in the end you can save a lot of money!
Worldwide Medical Insurance / Comparison Chart*
Part of the table courtesy of Tokio Marine HCC
Note: This article and table were created with information that was accurate at the time of its publishing. This information is subject to changes and updates.
In my opinion, the best international health insurance companies for expatriates are:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
To begin with, Cigna. It is a company founded in the United States but with a large presence in Europe. It’s a great choice when it comes to international health insurance.
With more than 60 years of history in the business, Cigna has recognition because of its insurance, globally they have more than 170 million customers. My partner, Nikki, has already had medical assistance from Cigna to get her resident card in Sweden.
Cigna is a diverse company in its plans for you to choose, including plans precisely for expats who will work in the Bahamas.
There are individual or family plans for you who are moving to the Bahamas. One advantage of Cigna’s plans is that you have the possibility of adding benefits to your plan according to your needs and the type of medical care you need to cover.
You can choose between the Silver, Platinum or Gold plan, which has coverage in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
If you are looking for a cheaper insurance plan for the Bahamas, a great option is Close Care. This plan is particularly the most affordable that Cigna has, because the coverage is only for your country of origin and the country where you want to live.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- Service available 24 hours, 7 days a week
- Flexibility to change plans tailored to your needs
- Has coverage for COVID-19 and PCR testing
- You do not need to register to make a quote
- It has a digital system to find hospitals and clinics with care close to your location
- Cigna, for the most part, pays healthcare providers directly without a refund system
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
Some plans do not cover motherhood
Another company with a strong name in the area of international insurance is IMG. It has more than 25 years of experience and 3 subsidiaries around the world.
IMG has many types of plans for your choice, both for individual profiles or families. They also have a variety of traveler-specific plans such as Expats. You will see that they have the possibility of plans with long stays of 1 year or more, but also short stay travel plans.
Their website is intuitive and simple to navigate, with filters for dates, plan duration, destination and more that make your search easier. In addition to these filters, you can add your personal details like age and specific needs for the best coverage.
In this way, IMG will provide a full quotation of details that allows a comparison of plan and coverage options for you to have freedom and choose what is best.
Only pay attention to the specifics of each plan, as some do not have coverage for all age groups and not all of your plans cover the needs of Covid-19.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- You have the choice of Portuguese on the site
- Customer service 24 hours, every day of the week
- Flexibility in profiles and plans
- Availability of more than 17,000 physicians to support
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- Not covers by COVID-19 depending on plan
- No coverage for 75+ year olds
As the name implies, Now Health International’s mission is to offer an efficient, affordable, and quickly accessible service, and nothing better than now for this.
Therefore, the focus of this company is very much on the relationship with the customer. Plan information is provided in a clear and agile manner and any possible queries are resolved by the company’s customer support team.
Now Health plans are designed to meet the daily challenges of those living abroad, providing guidance and providing quality healthcare around the world.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Now Health:
- Customized plans according to your needs
- Clear information and excellent customer service team
- Provides coverage in 194 countries and territories
- Plans with high coverage routine maternity coverage
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Now Health:
- You must wait a 12-month grace period to use maternity coverage.
- In some procedures, it is necessary to use the company’s reimbursement system, which means that you would have to pay for your care initially
4. Aetna (acquired by AllianzCare)
Aetna is a winner of several awards and leader in the field of international insurance. If you are seeking security and credibility for your insurance choice prior to your move to Portugal, Aetna is a good company to consider.
Although they do not have a high variety of plans, they have flexibility and allow you to add complementary coverage (such as dental). Plans include a policy of up to $5 million, depending on the cases.
You can choose between family or individual plans, and may include coverage for repatriation and medical evacuation.
As an Expat, I recommend the Aetna Pioneer. It has base coverage of up to $1.75 million. Just fill out a form on the website itself to see an exact quote and get detailed information about the available programs.
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- Maternity coverage
- Has application with all the information you need and easy location of services and providers
- Short, medium and long travel plans
- Service 24h, 7 days a week
- Pre-trip assistance to help with questions, such as vaccinations and regular medications
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- Low diversity of plans
- Above average price compared to other companies on this list
Global Underwriters is another company with great recognition and popularity when it comes to insurance. They have programs that serve immigrants, students, digital nomads and immigrants with the goal of starting a life elsewhere in the world.
For someone who is moving to the Bahamas, I recommend the Diplomat Long Term or the Diplomat International Plan. Both have wide coverage and generally include everything an immigrant may need in their new home.
Benefits of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwriters:
- Up to $1 million in medical coverage in the two plans mentioned above, and $1 million in coverage in case of accidental death or dismemberment
- Customer support every day of the week, 24 hours a day
- The plans I mentioned have emergency dental coverage, medical evacuations and repatriation of remains
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwritres:
- Diplomat Long Term does not secure travelers in Iran, Afghanistan and Cuba
- Diplomat International has no coverage of COVID-19
- Global Underwriters does not serve residents of Australia, Iran, South Dakota, Maryland and New York
SafetyWing is one of the most popular and recognized companies in insurance for digital nomads, as it offers specific health insurance plans for remote workers and companies, expatriates and digital nomads.
One of the advantages of SafetyWing is that its policies are a bit more affordable than others on the market. They also cover 2-10 year olds free of charge if their parents have a plan.
Each plan has a specific cost that depends on age. The most affordable plan does not cover pre-existing conditions, but has a policy of up to $250,000. But you also have the possibility to add pre-existing condition coverage to the part if you need to.
What I like most about SafetyWing is that the company offers 30 days of free coverage in your home country every 90 days you use your plan in another country, such as the Bahamas.
Benefits of an international health insurance plan with SafetyWing:
- Modern website with easy access to information and intuitive
- Customer service 24 hours, every day of the week
- Has 30 days of free coverage to your home country for every 90 days of coverage abroad
- It is covered by COVID-19 and the treatment recommended by specialist doctors
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with the Safety Wing:
- They are not as complete as the other options in this list
- Site prices do not include taxes and fees
Foyer Global Health is renowned for international health insurance plans for travelers, Expats, digital nomads and immigrants.
It is a company with a wide variety of plans, probably the largest you can find in the market, besides being a reliable company (it is one of the largest parts of the European Foyer Group).
Benefits of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- All plans have coverage for surgeries, consultations and dental treatments
- Online service by email or phone 24/7 days a week
- Offer support service for pre-trip preparation for vaccinations and first aid kit preparation
- Have evacuation and repatriation services available
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- Coverage limits are not clear
- Not supported in Portuguese, only in English, French and German
GeoBlue has been offering insurance plans with international health coverage for over 20 years.
But GeoBlue only provides insurance for citizens and residents of the United States. So if you are not an American citizen or resident moving to Portugal, you can skip this option.
GeoBlue has health plans for different traveler profiles, including immigrants. Xplorer Essential is the plan I highly recommend, as it is made for long-term stays with unlimited coverage.
If you’re looking for a short-term plan, try the Voyager program. Just fill out a form or contact a broker, you can make a quote and more detailed information about the plans.
Benefits of an international health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- Has application with technological resources and service by telemedicine
- Customer service 24/7 Customer service
- Some plans have coverage for pre-existing conditions
- All plans have unlimited coverage
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- Only available to US residents or US citizens
- Low flexibility of programs
- You need to submit a form or contact a broker for information or budget plans
Types of Bahamense visa
If you are planning to live in the Bahamas, one of your priorities will be to research and apply for a visa.
As an immigrant going to the country to work, your company will probably offer assistance with your establishment in the country, including applying for a visa and even finding a new place to live.
The most important thing is to be careful and attentive to the different types of visas you can apply for, the documents you will need for your goals and the deadlines for your visa to be ready. If other family members move in with you, then you also need to see what kind of visas they need.
The Basque immigration system requires a visa that varies according to your country of origin, less for US and Canadian citizens. For stays under 90 days no visa is required.
You must have a valid passport with at least six months from the date of arrival in the Bahamas, a return or continuation ticket, evidence of local accommodation and sufficient funds to support yourself during your trip.
For any stay visa of more than 3 months, you will need:
- Your passport – must be valid for at least another six months and must have at least one blank page
- Two photographs of your passport – these must not be more than three months old
- A letter that includes the dates and purpose of your visit, as well as your home address
- A confirmed e-ticket showing the round trip with the dates you intend to arrive and depart; or a confirmed voucher for a cruise
- Proof that you have the right to return to your country of residence
- Any transit visas required for your trip
- Current financial statement, to a bank account or credit card, confirming that you have sufficient funds for your trip; or the equivalent in cash or traveler’s checks
- Proof that you are in employment, education or retired
- Confirmed hotel booking or a letter of invitation from a host in the Bahamas, with details of the length of your stay and the address and phone number of your hotel or host
- Some nationalities require vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before traveling
Below are the 2 types of visas most used by new immigrants at the entrance to residence in the Bahamas.
Work visa in the Bahamas
There are working visas for short and long stays, and the short-term visa is allowed up to 90 days, available to anyone. The only requirement is to find an employer first.
For long-term or permanent stay visas it is required that the employer proves that no properly qualified Bahamians are available to fill the position, before he can make a job offer to a foreigner.
From this you can download the visa form on the website of the Government of the Bahamas.
Visa for residence in the Bahamas
If you do not have work in the Bahamas, you will need the residence permit given by the Department of Immigration.
The residence visa is renewed annually. This type of visa is only available to dependents of people working in the Bahamas, their spouse or children (under 18 years) and to full-time students at a school, university or college in the Bahamas.
The permanent residence visa is for life. You can apply for permanent residence if:
- You have been married to a Bahamian citizen for five years
- His mother was a citizen of the Bahamas
- You are financially independent and own a property in the Bahamas (property owners worth BS$1.5 million or more are accelerated)
- You have been employed in the Bahamian government service as a police officer for at least 10 years
- You have been employed in government service or by a religious or charitable institution as a nurse or teacher for at least 10 years
- You have been employed as a priest, minister of religion or doctor for at least 20 years
- You have a work permit or residence valid for more than 20 consecutive years
Citizens of Haiti have special conditions for permanent residence.
Here are the top 7 health insurance companies for expats and immigrants who move to the Bahamas:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
Deciding to start a life elsewhere in the world can be tricky… I hope this article will help you ask questions and facilitate this process! If you still have any questions about how to get health insurance for your move to the Bahamas (or about moving abroad in general), tell me in the comment area below and I’ll answer you!
Planning your next trip?