Thinking about moving to Dominican Republic? Want to know about how to have good health coverage in the country? Here you can find out everything you need to ensure your safety in case of emergencies! Keep reading!
There are several things you need to do before moving to another country – have a stay to settle down, look for jobs, understand the bureaucracies, buy your tickets, go after learning the new language…
But one task that sometimes people don’t remember or don’t know they need is to secure their health insurance.
The Dominican Republic is not only a popular tourist destination, the country is also becoming increasingly popular with digital nomads.
Stable political conditions, good infrastructure, great weather, adventures, stunning beaches and the best value for money in the Caribbean are just some of the advantages that the Dominican Republic can offer digital nomads.
But in addition to talking about your international health insurance options as an expatriate in Dominican Republic, let’s first talk a little bit about how Dominican Republic’s health system is structured, what is the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance, which is the coverage you will need, and more.
(And be sure to read to the end of the article to learn more about the different types of visas you can use to start living, studying or working in the country!)
How does the health system work in Dominican Republic?
The quality of health care in the Dominican Republic is different in different parts of the country. Private hospitals have the most modern medical equipment, well-trained staff and high health standards. On the other hand, public hospitals do not have medical equipment and staff up to the same standards.
Another important point to note here is that GPs are rare. Thus, most patients visit an internist who can refer them to specialists.
The health financing system operates in a three-tier structure:
- People under the subsidized level include the poor, disabled and unemployed. They are eligible to receive funding from the Dominican state.
- The contributory level includes employer- and worker-funded health care.
- The contributory subsidized level is funded by technical workers and the self-employed with wages that exceed the national median income.
Expatriates residing in the Dominican Republic are part of the subsidized contribution level. But just to be sure, you should check with your employer which category you fall into. Before moving to the Dominican Republic, you must receive all routine vaccinations for illnesses such as measles, mumps, diphtheria, chickenpox and polio.
In addition, every expatriate must obtain medical insurance for several reasons. The quality of public health is inferior. Furthermore, the prevalence of diseases such as malaria makes access to private health facilities crucial. Thus, global nomads and expatriates often choose international private health policies to get quality medical care in times of emergency.
Do expats need to have health insurance in Dominican Republic?
Simply put: yes! Health care in Dominican Republic is mandatory for expatriates to have a resident visa or work permit.
So, it’s essential that you insure yourself with one of the coverages I’ve selected from the list below 🙂
But in addition to being mandatory, an international health plan gives you more peace of mind. Especially being in a new country, different from your own, with laws, structures and a language you may not know, and unpredictable healthcare costs.
So, by securing international health insurance coverage you will be assured that you are covered in any emergency or unexpected situation. In addition, there are several other benefits that you can get with an international plan (as I will say in the next question).
As an immigrant in Dominican Republic, should you get an international health plan like the ones recommended in the list below? Or should you get a national plan?
So, this is a choice that will depend on you, as only you know your specific medical needs, the specific coverage you will need in your insurance, from the duration of your stay in Dominican Republic to the options available from national plans.
An international health insurance plan must meet your in-country coverage requirements. If you choose to get an international plan, be sure to check with Turkish government embassies to find out if there is and what is the minimum insurance coverage required.
I’ve never lived in Dominican Republic so I don’t know enough about the national plans that might be available and so I can’t say much about them.
With that in mind, below are some of the reasons you might want to choose an international health insurance plan over public coverage:
- Compared to the costs you may incur, international health insurance may have cheaper monthly fees;
- International health insurance may be easier to use if your stay is short in Dominican Republic, as you can choose exactly how long you want your plan to be;
- International health insurance has greater flexibility as you can cancel or extend it at any time;
- International health insurance provides coverage in other countries, not just Dominican Republic (hence “international” health insurance).
Who do these international health insurance policies cover?
The health insurance companies I have listed below are for the following citizens living in Dominican Republic 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 Dominican Republic, these companies also operate for residents living in:
- the United States;
- Europe (European Union and United Kingdom);
- And for expats living in almost any other country in the world.
Overall, as they are plans and international companies, they can be used by virtually anyone anywhere, since they have worldwide coverage!
Why can’t I get travel insurance when I move to Dominican Republic? What is the difference between travel insurance and expat insurance?
Travel insurance is important and necessary for any trip, as it will not only cover problems you may experience in case of emergencies and unexpected medical problems, but also for problems with travel, such as lost baggage or flight cancellation.
It is important to know that travel insurance is not ideal for immigrants. 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.
In addition, travel insurance will not meet your health insurance coverage required by law to live in Dominican Republic.
So, you’ll really want to choose an insurance plan that specifically covers expats. And that is exactly what I will help you with the list below.
What are the 7 best health insurance for expatriates and immigrants in Dominican Republic?
I know it’s stressful to find the right insurance plan. With that in mind, take a look at the company comparison table I recommend below. So you can quickly see what are the pros and cons of each company and make the best choice for you!
After the table, I will make a longer description of each of the companies, their plans, main benefits and more!
So the biggest advice I can give is to quickly quote each of the companies on this list before making your decision. It may take a while, but at the end of the day, you can save a lot of money!
Attention: This article and table are made for informational purposes as the information contained here is subject to changes and updates.
In my opinion, the best international health insurance companies for expats are:
- Now Health
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
First, Cigna. It is a company founded in the United States but has a large role in Europe. It’s a great choice when it comes to international health insurance.
With more than 60 years in this area in the market, Cigna has great recognition because of its insurance and worldwide they have more than 170 million customers. My partner, Nikki, actually purchased a health plan from Cigna to fulfill the validation requirements of her residence card in Sweden.
Cigna is a company with high diversity of plans for you to choose, including specific plans for expatriates (and that work great if you are moving to Dominican Republic! ), in addition to individual and family plans).
There are individual or family plans for you who are moving to Dominican Republic. One advantage of Cigna’s plans is that you have the possibility to add benefits to your plan according to your specific 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 Dominican Republic, a great option is the Cigna Close Care plan. This plan is particularly the most affordable that Cigna has, because the coverage is only for its country of origin and the country where it intends to reside (Dominican Republic in this case).
Advantages of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- Service available 24 hours, every day of the 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 the need for a refund system
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with Cigna:
- Some plans do not cover motherhood
Another company with great recognition in the area of international insurance is IMG. It has over 25 years of experience and 3 subsidiaries around the world.
IMG has several types of plans for your choice, both for individual profiles or entire families. They also have a variety of plans specific to types of travelers, such as expats. You will see that they have the possibility of plans with long stays of 1 year or more, but also short-term travel plans.
Their website is intuitive and easy 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.
Thus, IMG will provide a detailed quotation that allows a comparison of plan and coverage options for you to have freedom and choose what is best.
Only pay attention to the details 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, 7 days a week
- Flexibility in profiles and plans
- Availability of more than 17,000 clinicians to support
Disadvantages of an international health insurance plan with IMG:
- Not covered by COVID-19 depending on plan
- No coverage for 75+ year olds
Now Health International is dedicated to providing a service that is efficient, affordable, and readily available, as evident from its name. The company highly values cultivating strong customer relationships. They ensure that plan information is presented in a clear and concise manner, and any inquiries or concerns are promptly addressed by their dedicated customer support team.
Now Health plans are specifically designed to meet the unique challenges faced by individuals living abroad. They aim to provide guidance and ensure access to high-quality healthcare services across the globe.
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 Allianz)
Aetna is a leader and award winner in the area of international insurance. If you’re in search of safety and credibility in your choice of insurance provider before your move to Japão, Aetna is a good company to consider.
Although they don’t have a large variety of plans on offer, the ones they do have give you the flexibility to adjust and add on complementary coverage (like dental care). Depending on the policy, some include coverage of up to 5 million USD.
You can choose from family or individual plans, as well as include coverage for repatriation and medical evacuations.
As an expat, I can recommend the Aetna Pioneer plan. This plan has basic coverage of up to 1.75 million USD. Just fill out the short form on their website to get an exact quote and detailed information about all of the available policies.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- Maternity care is covered
- Aetna has a mobile app to help you easily find nearby medical services and providers
- Short-, mid-, and long-term plans to choose from
- Customer services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Pre-trip assistance available to help answer your questions on things like vaccines and accessing regularly-used medications while traveling
Cons of an international health insurance plan with Aetna:
- Few plans to choose from
- Cost of plans above the average of the other companies on this list
SafetyWing is a popular and well-known company particularly for insurance for digital nomads, given that they have insurance plans specifically for remote workers and companies, expats, and digital nomads.
One of the advantages of SafetyWing is that its policies are a little more accessible and easier to understand than the other options on the market. SafetyWing also covers children aged 2-10 for free if their caretakers have a plan with them.
Each plan has a specific price that depends on your age. The cheapest SafetyWing plan doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, but it does have coverage of up to 250,000 USD. Though you do have the freedom to add additional pre-existing condition coverage separately if you need to.
What I like most about SafetyWing is that they offer 30 days of coverage for free in your home country for every 90 days that you use it overseas, like in Japão or the EAU in general.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with SafetyWing:
- Modern, intuitive website that makes it easy to find policy info
- Customer services available 24 hours a day every day of the week
- 30 days of coverage given for free in your home country for every 90 days of coverage overseas
- They cover Covid-19 and treatments recommended by specialists
Cons of an international health insurance plan with SafetyWing:
- Plans aren’t quite as complete and tend to have lower coverage overall than some of the other options on this list
- The prices shown on the website don’t include taxes and fees
Global Underwriters is another well-known and very popular company when we talk about insurance. They have policies that serve immigrants, students, digital nomads, and expats with will be beginning a new life elsewhere in the world.
For anyone who is moving to Japão, I recommend the Diplomat long Term or the Diplomat International Plan. Both have very complete medical coverage that in general includes all that an expat may need in their new home.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwriters:
- Up to 1 million USD in medical coverage is included in the plans cited above, plus 1 million USD in coverage for cases of accidental death or dismemberment
- Client support available 24 hours a day each day of the week
- The plans I mentioned include emergency dental coverage, medical evacuation, and repatriation of mortal remains
Cons of an international health insurance plan with Global Underwriters:
- The Diplomat Long Term plan doesn’t protect travelers in Iran, Afghanistan, or Cuba
- The Diplomat International plan doesn’t have Covid-19 coverage
- Global Underwriters doesn’t work with residents of Australia, Iran, South Dakota, Maryland, or New York
Foyer Global Health is renowned for its international health insurance plans for travelers, expats, digital nomads, and immigrants.
They are a company with many, many plans to choose from (probably more than any other company you’ll find out there), as well as being a trustworthy organization (they are part of the larger European Foyer Group).
Pros of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- All plans include coverage for dental surgeries, appointments, and treatments
- Customer service available online by email or by phone 24/7
- Includes pre-trip preparation support on vaccinations and in preparing a first aid kit
- Coverage available for evacuation and repatriation
Cons of an international health insurance plan with Foyer Global Health:
- The limits of their plans aren’t very clear
GeoBlue has spent 20 years providing insurance plans with international health coverage.
But GeoBlue only allows their plans to be purchased by citizens and residents of the United States. So if you aren’t an American citizen or green card holder moving to Japão, you can skip this option.
GeoBlue has health plans for all types of travelers, including immigrants. Their Xplorer Essential plan is the one I most often recommend since it’s made for long stays overseas and has unlimited coverage.
But if you’re looking for a shorter plan, take a look at GeoBlue’s Voyager option. Just fill out the form on their website or reach out to an insurance broker to get a quote and more detailed information about their plans.
Pros of an international health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- They have an app with resources like telehealth
- 24/7 customer services
- All of their plans include unlimited coverage
Cons of an international health insurance plan with GeoBlue:
- Their plans are only available for residents of the United States or American citizens
- Not a lot of flexibility in their plans
- You need to fill out a form or contact an insurance broker to get more information and an exact budget for their plans
Types of Dominican Visas
Currently, there is no visa specifically for digital nomads in the Dominican Republic, but chances are that the country will follow the trend of its Caribbean neighbors, given that many nations in the region have introduced the ND visa since the beginning of the pandemic.
If you prefer, you can take a quick getaway to Puerto Rico, Colombia or any other nearby country and get a new tourist visa when you return.
To work in the Dominican Republic for more than two months at a time, you will need to obtain a residence permit. A residence permit will grant you the same rights as a Dominican citizen under the country’s National Labor Code.
The authorization will also register you in the Social Security System. This is important as you will need this to pay your taxes correctly. A residence permit can be renewed annually for up to four years; after that, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency.
While the residency process can be tricky, with a little guidance and patience, you should be able to meet the requirements quickly. It is essential to familiarize yourself with visa and residency requirements before deciding to move to the Dominican Republic.
The most requested visas for those who want to spend a long period in the Dominican Republic are:
Business visas are issued for professional or commercial travel. It is granted for 60 days and can be automatically renewed, at the request of the interested party, within the 60-day period of validity, without express authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If someone needs to travel to the country more often, it is possible to apply for a business visa with multiple entries, valid for one year, not being able to stay in the country for more than two consecutive months.
Access the form here!
They are awarded for travel with the aim of permanently settling in the Dominican Republic. They have an initial validity of 60 days and are valid for a single entry. Once in Dominican territory, the beneficiary of this visa must submit to the General Directorate of Migration, formalize the residency procedures and fulfill the additional requirements required.
Access the form here!
Here are the 7 best health insurance companies for expats and immigrants moving to Dominican Republic:
- Now Health
- Aetna (Allianz)
- Global Underwriters
- Foyer Global Health
Starting a life in the land of dreams can be a complicated decision…I hope that with this article you will clear many of your doubts and make this process easier! If you still have any questions about getting health insurance for your move to Dominican Republic (or moving abroad in general), let me know in the comments area below and I’ll get back to you!
Planning your next trip?