On your Cuba travel, besides the »tourist card«, it is obligatory to have a travel health insurance for entering the country. Despite the legal regulations, it is essential to have a complete insurance coverage in your own interest. While protection is often included if you have a private insurance, public companies generally do not cover health services when traveling to countries without a social security agreement - such as Cuba. This article provides all the important information about the services that a good insurance should cover and possible that can arise.
Attending to the country's law, travelers must present at the Cuban airports a written evidence of a valid health insurance. The document must be written in Spanish and explicitly state the period of the insurance that must cover the entire trip.
Anyway, one can say that there is no check at the airport upon entry to verify the existence of the insurance. However, if you extend your visa on site, usually you will have to show the proof. Also, travelers who apply for the tourist card at a Cuban consulate must provide it there.
Even when the entry into Cuba is also possible without health insurance, it's advisable to have it. Medical treatments on the Island can quickly become very expensive. In the case of serious illnesses, a return transport can easily cost five-digit numbers.
Which services should be covered
If you already have insurance, you should definitely verify if it covers the trip to Cuba. Furthermore, you need to see if all important benefits are included in the existing or expected insurance.
This check is necessary because some foreign health insurance companies have considerable restrictions in terms of the scope of coverage. Often, for example, the repatriation transport is not part of the protection. This is particularly common with policies that are included with credit cards. If you don't count with patient repatriation, the services are not provided exactly when you need them most - that is to say in an emergency.
In concrete terms, it must be guaranteed that the international health insurance not only cover the event of serious illnesses or accidents by covering the costs of treatments, medication, rescue and recovery. In the best case should also be included the return transport to your home country.
The distinction between “medically necessary” and “medically sensible” repatriation is important. Medically necessary, as is common in many health insurers' conditions, only provides for repatriation if there is a medical undersupply on site for the existing clinical picture. Nowadays, this is generally only the case in very few regions of the world. In Cuba, most illnesses cannot be assumed to be inadequate.
Apart from the question of medical care, a patient repatriation makes sense from a medical perspective if repatriation can accelerate healing from a psychological or social point of view.
Travelers with serious harm, certainly do not want to stay in a Cuban hospital until they are healed. So it is important to ensure that the extended criterion “medically sensible” is defined in the insurance.
The deductible is also important, because if the costs are low, you may have to pay them yourself despite the existing insurance.
Consequently, it is essential to get a travel health insurance for stays abroad.
Get health insurance on arrival in Cuba
It is possible to purchase a health insurance at the airport upon arrival in Cuba with the state provider ASISTUR. The price is 3 USD per day of vacation, with a daily surcharge of 2 USD for people over 70 years of age.
This insurance coverage meets the legal requirements, but is only recommended to a limited extent. The problem is that its cover is limited to 25,000 USD. In addition, repatriation costs are only covered up to 7,000 USD.
Even if this insurance is not recommended, it is worth mentioning the option. Foreign visitors that have not attended or don't want to take care of an insurance have at least the option of getting one without complications upon arrival at the airport. For all others, it's recommended to get it in the home country, as they generally offer better price-performance ratio.
What to do if you present an illness?
In case of illness, you should inform the insurance company immediately. They can send a confirmation to the treating doctor or hospital, that the costs will be covered. If this is not possible or necessary, the bill will first be paid out of pocket. Therefore, you should have sufficient financial resources for an emergency. In addition, it is essential to have all bills and receipts for the refund so that you can submit them to the health insurance company after your return.
What health risks there are in Cuba and how best to behave in order to stay healthy can be found in the article about health in Cuba.