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Medical Insurance Required to Enter Cuba (as of May 1st)

By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Health, Licensing & visas Add comments

UPDATE (4/7/2010): For an update on specific costs and procedures, go HERE

As of May 1st both tourists and temporary residents will have to purchase an insurance policy along with their visas. Up until know, if tourists sought medical attention, they were charged for services on the spot.  Temporary residents would presumably have been covered by the state system, at least if they were students. It was, however, a good idea to have a private insurance, so that you could be seen at the well-supplied hard-currency facilities, which otherwise charged US prices for the visit. (I personally contracted with a European insurance company called Europe Assistance, which had an agreement with its Cuban equivalent). Now, proof of valid insurance will be required from everybody entering the country. Obviously because of the US embargo, insurance policies with US companies are not valid for Cuba, but many international travelers’ insurance companies are (supposedly Cuba will publish a list of those).

Cuba has ASISTUR, which offers temporary policies to foreigners at competitive rates and also operates as a representative of non-Cuban companies, like the aforementioned Europe Assistance.  But will hospitals like Havana’s hard-currency Cira Garcia be ready for the increased number of patients (hey, if you get an insurance policy you might as well go check on those minor ailments you’ve been putting off…).  ASISTUR actually worked very well: since it is a Cuban company they cover everything upfront… But now with the avalanche of new insurees, will they be ready?

Although most of us, citizens of Europe and North America, might not have heard of such a regulation before anywhere (at least I had not), turns out that Europe has been imposing it since 2006. For visitors to the European Union from many countries, the requirements for a Schengen Visa (valid for all countries within the EU) include proof of a travel medical insurance. Such a health insurance must be recognized by the EU, have offices in a EU country, ensure cadaver repatriation costs, and medical expenses up to $42,888. Many US carriers like Blue Cross Blue Shield Wold wide services operate in Europe. Otherwise there are many companies that will offer insurance starting at $1/day. But because of the US embargo, this means an extra hurdle for US citizens visiting Cuba.

Here is the actual regulation as it appears in Cuba’s Gaceta Oficial:

You can read a translation into English HERE.

Concerning costs, rumors range from a few dollars a day to fifty dollars a month, but nothing has been officially set. Nothing is known as of yet concerning the international travel insurance companies that will be accepted. Currently, Havanatur (in the US, Marazul travel) sells travel insurance for $5/day (plus a service fee). For a more specific estimate of how much such an insurance currently costs if you have special needs, you can enter your data on the ASISTUR page designed to that effect.

* According to a Montreal-based blog written by a Cuban expatriate, in a post dated today (Sunday, march 7th), Cuban consulates abroad will add a “certification of insurance” to the visa. For Canadian residents and citizens, whose insurance covers them while abroad, including Cuba, the cost of such certification will be between 30 and 50 Canadian dollars. So they will not have to buy extra insurance if they already have a valid one, but they will still have to pay for the certification… U.S. nationals, obviously, will have to buy the extra insurance no matter what…

29 Responses to “Medical Insurance Required to Enter Cuba (as of May 1st)”

  1. helen Says:

    when I travel I am already way over insured,I have my provincial insurance from Canada, my work insurance, my insurance on my Visa charge card and a private insurance I have just for travelling that covers me anywhere in the world for 30 days all year long. Why in my right mind would pay for another policy in Cuba for Cuba when all my policies cover me for Cuba. Just who is going to descide if the coverage I have is enough. Why would I want to pay for a certificate to prove that i have insurance. To me who has been to Cuba quite a few times I see this just as a cash grab by the Cuban government. Now the government is being involved in the begging syndrome just putting a fancy name to it. I just have to wonder how this is going to affect tourism. I know I may reconsider my two trips a year to Cuba.

  2. kelly Says:

    Cuba has to realise that many people would have got insurance already especially if they got this at the same time as booking the holiday which may have been over a year ago. I don’t think its right that the Cuban government can just apply this straight away- they should give it a good few months-say let it come into force as of Jan 2011 so it gives people time to sort out the insurance Cuba requires. Who wants to pay twice for insurance? I agree totally with Helen if you have the right insurance cover who should it matter who its with? as long as its been paid for- its just another way for the Cuban government to get more money but if anything-if they are really going to be that fussy about it-they will loose money from tourists as people will avoid the island especially if they know they can get the same cover with a different company cheaper but Cuba doesn’t want that insurance company under their books. I certainly wouldn’t bother going!

  3. medial insurance Says:

    What does Raul think Cuba is, anyways? A family business? He has been speaking out lately on the subject of human rights when he and his brother rule over their fiefdom like a couple of Egyptian potentates. Is human BLOOD divine in Cuba? Is it a racist regime? Is only the name CASTRO of sufficient stock to rule? I don’t understand the very nature of this government and as an American am curious and outraged simultaneously.

  4. Bradford Portis Says:

    Great article! Thanks!

  5. Hindi Sms Says:

    I think its an good idea for the tourists as well as the insurance company.both will be benefited with this action.Asistur is also providing it at cheaper rates so what can be the problem.

  6. calculatrice Says:

    Very good article. Beware of appearances, but I found this article excellent. This site is a real source of useful information. Thank you very much for the work provided
    I hope you will continue long

  7. jane Says:

    We are Canadians traveling to Cuba on May 1 so were required to get the latest info. Here is it for those interested.

    If you’re traveling to Cuba you need acceptable medical insurance. Acceptable by the Cuban officials, that is. Although I have Global Medical Assistance thru my workplace (underwriters being Great West Life), neither the travel agents, nor GWL, nor the Cuban consulate were able to tell me if this insurance would be sufficient. Although my coverage through GWL is more than adequate should a medical emergency arise, would it be accepted at the Cuban airport? Possibly not, possibly yes, but who wants to be that stressed out on your vacation? Not me.

    Cuban officials stated an official list of accepted insurers would be provided but have yet to publish such a list and we are now 6 days before this presumed requirement is enforced!

    A no stress option to recommend to my fellow travelers: I purchased medical insurance thru my travel agency (they use ManuLife) for a grand total of $41.76 for two adults and two teenagers (a little over $10 each). Definitely worth the piece of mind! And the travel agent guaranteed this was sufficient for Cuba as this is their business and all tour companies operating in Cuba have had their insurance pre-approved. If you wait until you get to Cuba to potentially be denied access until you purchase their $$$ insurance, expect to get ripped off.

    Hope this helps.

  8. Mike Connolly Says:

    I do not understand why you would need medical insurance to enter a foreign country. I work for an internet company called youtube to mp3 They do not supply me with insurance and certainly do not provide international coverage. Hopefully the us will give us health care through the reform and they will carry that coverage into any foreign country you enter to alleviate this issue.

  9. lucky Says:

    nice.Just who is going to descide if the coverage I have is enough.I always make sure that my family gets Health Insurance from very reputable companies. health insurance is very important these days

  10. Shane Hudson Says:

    Somehow this makes sense. Can you imagine the costs of taking care of foreigners’ health, even emergency services or funeral services to the Cuban government? I think it makes sense at least from the Cuban point of view.

  11. Greg Marcyniuk Says:

    @jane Getting insurance from the travel agencies is probably the smartest thing to do while waiting for the Cuban government to publish their list of accepted insurance companies. And they would know if they deal with Cuba regularly. Though its always best to make doubly sure that it is accepted in Cuba.

  12. martin3 Says:

    i think its a very good idea because all conutries need to secured all of the people weather their live their or a tourist. nice policy i guess hope other country do the same thing thanks.

  13. hiroko3 Says:

    hope other countries will gonna use this idea and copy it so that even tourist feel their conveniences on thier travel or vacations

  14. Life Insurance Trade Says:

    From previous experience, medical insurance very helpful especially when you get happen in foreign country.

  15. logo design Says:

    Is only the name CASTRO of sufficient stock to rule? I don’t understand the very nature of this government and as an American am curious and outraged simultaneously.

  16. Taj Says:

    I think its a pretty good idea to get insurance whenever you travel anywhere. This seems like it could be a step in the right direction for travel in Cuba, but who knows.

  17. AUTOMONEY Says:

    hiroko it will gonna happen if the other countries will gonna do the same thing as cuba done…

  18. Sarin Says:

    Its an inconvenience but I guess it’s good.

  19. auto money Says:

    Why does it have to be so difficult for visitors? It should be their choice. It si extra money to be spent.

  20. Lose weight Says:

    I totally support the idea that tourist should have medical insurance when visiting as some countries the medical care can be very expensive.

  21. How to Write Says:

    I believe your idea is in the benefit of both the insurance providers and tourists. Very well written post. Thanks.

  22. SEO Agency Says:

    Very effective post. Thanks for sharing. I will definitely bookmark the post.

  23. Kalkulator oc Says:

    Yeah, thanks for the post. I wonder how other nations have to deal with this insurance?

  24. Lowest Cost Auto Insurance Says:

    Thanks for the post. In NewZealand insurance is not compulsory, even auto insurance. However it pays to get it. Alot of the health sector is government funded still.

  25. Organic SEO Says:

    Very much informative post. I like it. Thanks for sharing in the web.

  26. Jamey Hoerauf Says:

    Thanks for the good info, medical insurance is very importance especially when you travel on foreign country.

  27. anonymous Says:

    I dont think it is right because Cuba has to understand that many people would have got insurance already especially if they got this at the same time as booking the holiday.

  28. SEO Company Says:

    I am hoping to visit Cuba later this year with my girlfriend. Can’t wait to see all those old American cars!!

  29. Auto Insurance TX Says:

    When I travel i make sure i get maximum insurance coverage. Recently i went to China and got stuck an extra day. Travel Insurance paid for everything.

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