Barbados Health Insurance
The island nation of Barbados is one the most popular and prosperous of the Caribbean islands, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Barbados gained independence from Britain in 1966, and, since that time, has developed into a prominent tourist destination. Barbados’ economy revolves around tourism, offshore financial services and information services. This has lead to Barbados being one the leading countries so far as living standards are concerned, among developing nations.
The Barbadian healthcare system has developed over the last twenty years and provides a good standard of healthcare service. The healthcare system in Barbados is comprised of private and public healthcare facilities, with private healthcare providers playing a big role in the Barbadian health sector. Medical care in Barbados is generally good, although medical costs for foreign nationals can be costly. In the case of extreme medical needs a patient may be required to be medically evacuated to the USA for treatment. All visitors to Barbados are urged to obtain international Barbadian health insurance to safeguard themselves from excessive medical costs.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Barbados is responsible for providing and regulating the health sector in the country. The MoH was entrusted with overseeing healthcare reform in the 1990's, which lead to the improvement in quality, equality and efficiency of the Barbadian healthcare system. The Barbadian healthcare system operates in a similar way to countries such as the United Kingdom, with Barbadian citizens being covered by a national healthcare service based on a fundamental right of all citizens having access to healthcare services free of cost at the point of delivery. The Barbadian government’s objective is to provide comprehensive healthcare coverage for citizens of the country, which is affordable to the nation.
The healthcare system in Barbados is funded through two main sources; the main source being contributions from general taxation on income earned by companies and employees. The other key source is from private contributions, which include private health insurance, fee-for-services and out-of-pocket payments for health services. The government in Barbados sets an annual budget for the healthcare sector to provide for universal accessibility to the public healthcare system.
Primary healthcare services are delivered by polyclinics in Barbados. There are a total of eight polyclinics throughout the island. Polyclinics play a support role for publicly run hospitals and predominately operate as daytime healthcare centres for routine healthcare needs. The services the polyclinics provide include: maternal and child care, family planning services, communicable disease treatments, health education and school health services. They also provide specialized services, which include yellow fever surveillance, an eye clinic, bacteriological analysis and X-ray facilities. The larger polyclinic will provide a skin disease treatment facility.
Secondary healthcare is provided at the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in the capital in Bridgetown providing acute, secondary and tertiary care. The hospital has a comprehensive range of healthcare services and can cope with many surgical requirements; if the QEH is unable to treat a patient, then emergency evacuation will normally be required. The QEH has over a 600 bed capacity and provides healthcare services which include paediatrics ICU, invasive cardiological care, neurology, gynaecology, dermatology, psychiatry, radiotherapy, haematology and urology treatments. The QEH provides approximately 90% of the acute bed capacity in Barbados and provides in and out-patient services, with a 24 hour emergency care.
The Bayview Hospital is a privately run healthcare facility and is located on the outskirts of Bridgetown. The Bayview hospital has 7 private rooms and 4 semi-private rooms and offers personalized patient care. The hospital is able to provide for surgical needs in a number of medical fields including general, orthopaedic, reconstructive, urologic and dental surgery. Doctors at the Bayview hospital are trained in a variety of medical specialist offering comprehensive patient care.
Sandy Crest is a privately owned medical centre on the west coast of Barbados offering patients a five star service. Sandy Crest is equipped to handle emergency medical care for acute needs and basic standard health services, including facilities for testing.
There are some notable flaws in the healthcare system in Barbados, with ambulatory services response times being inadequate - it can take a number of hours for an ambulance to arrive - and ambulance attendants are limited in the medical treatment they can administer. Lifesaving techniques are forbidden to be applied to a patient during transportation. There are also long waiting times for patients when seeking health services - although privately healthcare services in Barbados provide patients with an expedited service. Also, in some acute medical cases, a patient may need to be transported to a medical centre of excellence in the USA.
Visitors need to bear-in-mind medical costs in Barbados are expensive and it is strongly advised that visitors and expatriates obtain comprehensive international Barbadian health insurance and ensure medical air ambulance services are included.
Barbados has a Strategic Plan for Health for the years between 2002-2012 providing a policy for the Barbadian health sector, which sets out targets to strengthen and improve the healthcare system. The main emphasis of the plan is focused on the development of the stewardship role by the MoH in Barbados in order to ensure their leadership role enhances the overall health sector. The Barbadian healthcare system is facing rising costs in caring for an aging and consequently an ailing population, coupled with demands for improvements in the quantity and quality of healthcare.
Dengue fever is endemic to the Caribbean region and it can occur throughout the year. Visitors to Barbados are encouraged to take measures to safeguard themselves against the disease, which is transmitted by being bitten by infected mosquitoes. It is advised that travelers to Barbados should consult with a doctor for healthcare advice and an update on any health issues which might be a concern in Barbados.
The Barbadian healthcare system is developed and patients will receive a good standard of healthcare services, but medical costs are expensive for visitors and non Barbadian citizens. It is essential that foreign nationals have international medical insurance for Barbados, which gives full healthcare coverage. It is important to ensure the policy includes emergency medical evacuation as there are limitations in health services the Barbadian health sector can provide. It should be recognized that medical treatment which entails medical evacuation would be extremely expensive.
An international medical insurance plan is the ideal solution to ensure comprehensive cover for any medical emergency. Policies can be tailor-made to ensure all your needs are met while in Barbados. Should you require further information on Barbados, global medical insurance, or to receive a free quotation, please do not hesitate to call one of our expert advisers now.
Questions and Answers from Visitors
Hi, my husband and I are planning to move to Barbados . We are Canadians and we will need medical insurance I think.
We are seniors, could you please give me some advice?
Mrs Angela lykenReply
Hello Mrs. Lyken!
Thank you for contacting Pacific Prime regarding international medical insurance. Our team of experienced brokers are happy to work with you to find the best coverage for your needs.
We have long term relationships with the largest insurance providers, such as Allianz, BUPA, Cigna, AXA, DKV etc, and we also work with insurance companies like Integra Global, William Russell, A Plus, ALC and others to bring you the most amount of coverage options, no matter where you are traveling.
We know that planning for retirement insurance can be a difficult process, especially when moving from a country that has a National Health Care system. We understand it’s important to you to keep your expenses manageable, so we will share our 10 years worth of experience to help you find a plan that will continue to be in your budget. We will also make sure that you have a plan that will allow you to repatriate until you have established residency in your home country, should you decide to return home.
We would recommend that you take a look at full coverage options- hospitalization, doctor consultations, and medication coverage- to suit your needs. Most importantly, we would take special note of coverage options that have suitable packages for chronic conditions coverage, so if you develop a condition on the plan, you will have ample coverage for daily medications.
If you already have a condition that requires long term care, we work with several providers that will likely be willing to extend coverage for those conditions, just let us know about your medical history. Our experienced staff will be cordial and discreet, and council you through the determining the coverage for you.
Finally, we pride ourselves on our continued service after your plan activates. Your account manager will assist you if you ever need to submit a claim, find a treatment facility, update payment information, or answer questions about your coverage. Our dedicated renewals team will work with you at contract end to ensure a seamless transition from one year’s coverage to the next. Our multinational team can provide services in most major languages worldwide.
We look forward to find the best solution for you and your husband when you are ready.