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9 Healthcare & Health Insurance Tips for Expats in Jamaica

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Expats in Jamaica share tips and advice about healthcare and health insurance in Jamaica. Advice about private hospitals, leaving the country for surgery, the Zika virus, the availability and cost of prescription medicines and more.

Expats in Jamaica - 9 Healthcare & Health Insurance Tips for Expats in Jamaica

Overview of Healthcare System in Jamaica

According to the US Embassy, "Medical care is much more limited than in the United States. Comprehensive but basic emergency medical services are located only in Kingston and Montego Bay, and smaller public hospitals are located in each parish. The availability of prescription drugs, emergency medical care, and ambulance services are limited in outlying parishes. Ambulance service is limited both in the quality of emergency care and in the availability of vehicles in remote parts of the country. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost 15,000 ? 20,000 USD or more. Private doctors and hospitals in Jamaica often require cash payment prior to providing services, even in emergency cases."

"Local doctors are good for rashes, infections etc., basic lab work. May have to travel to another city or to Kingston for diagnostic tests," commented an expat in Jamaica.

Availability of Prescription Medicines in Jamaica

"Pharmacists can also be helpful if you need something short notice. They may offer variations on the medication you need, and they might not be stocked. You will need a prescription for most medications but can sometimes find a pharmacist willing to assist you if you have documentation to verify what you are requesting. Prices are generally VERY reasonable. If possible bring enough of your regular medications to cover your needs, as it may not be possible to have them shipped to you," advised one expat in a healthcare report about Negril, Jamaica.

Emergency Medical Care in Jamaica

"Sav Hospital in Savanna La Mar (public), Mobay Hope Hospital in Montego Bay (private hospital). Emergency services are lacking in vehicles, equipment and supplies. You may need to use the local taxi service to transport," said one member.

Hospitals in Jamaica

"Jamaica has a number of public and private hospitals. Most public hospitals have deteriorated over time due to underinvestment. One major public hospital operates a private wing, which provides more personalized service and a Spanish chain is currently operates a hospital in Montego Bay. While there is significant room for improvement, the existing state of the health sector compares favorably with other developing countries. Apart from the recent introduction of mosquito borne diseases, the Embassy is not aware of any potential health risks of which businesspersons should be notified," wrote the US Embassy in Jamaica.

Here are some of the private hospitals in Jamaica: Hospiten Montego Bay, Andrew's Memorial Hospital in Kingston, Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston and Hargreaves Memorial Hospital in Mandeville.

Returning to the US for Specialist Care or Surgery

"I would return to the USA for serious health issues or for an elective surgery," explained one expat living in Jamaica.

It is important that you consider this when choosing a health insurance plan for your life in Jamaica. Some expat health insurance plans routinely cover medical evacuations for expats.

Expat Health Insurance in Jamaica

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Expat Health Insurance in Jamaica

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

Zika and Other Mosquito Borne Illnesses in Jamaica

"Apart from the recent introduction of mosquito borne diseases, the Embassy is not aware of any potential health risks of which businesspersons should be notified," wrote the US Embassy in Jamaica. The US Embassy publishes updates about the prevalence of the Zika in Jamaica.

Does the Chikungunya virus exist in Jamaica

International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers says that residents of Jamaica are at risk for the Chikungunya virus. This is likely due to Jamaica's proximity to other countries where Chikungunya exists. Meanwhile, the Jamaican government says that there are no Aedes albopictus mosquitoes in Jamaica at this time (Aedes albopictus mosquitoes transmit Chikungunya).

Tips for Protecting Yourself from Mosquito in Jamaica

In a discussion about mosquitos on the Jamaica forum, expats discussed how they protect themselves from mosquitos. One expat said, "The skin so soft range by AVON!! not marketed as mosquito repellent but I know plenty of people and myself included who find it keeps them away!" Another expat added, "I have used Avon Skin so Soft and have found it to be pretty effective. However, Avon now make a specific mosquito repellent as part of it's SSS range, and I also found that works good. And it has a nice smell - well, I think so, anyway!"

One expat said, "Have you tried REPEL? It is plant based lemon eucalyptus and deet free. It has a very strong smell, but works better than anything else I have tried. I bought mine through Amazon." "I too am an all you can eat buffet for mosquitos for the first two weeks I am here, after that they tend to leave me aloneish. Once you're eating Jamaican foods and are acclimatised I hope the same will apply to you," commented another expat.

When a soon-to-be expat returned from a trip to Jamaica, he reported, "I Just came back and have tried a combination of a few suggestions with success. A few weeks and 20 bites Amazing. Also stayed in Kingston a few days and didn't really use anything, so I know my problem is Clarendon. 1) Garlic pill - 3 morning 3 evening 2) Vitimin B - took 3 500mg day Like garlic they are excreted in your sweat and change the way you smell. 3) brought citronella candle for the viranda at night. 4) Avon skin so soft. Used it on its own a few days and only got 4 bites-those were area I didn't spray. I hope this helps anyone else who are mosquito magnets like myself.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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