15 Expats Talk about Health Insurance and Healthcare in Nicaragua
Last updated on Feb 03, 2023
Summary: The quality of medical care in Nicaragua is generally lower than in the United States. Nicaragua has a limited number of medical facilities and a shortage of medical professionals, which can lead to long wait times and limited access to specialized care. Emergency services are available, but they are often limited in scope and may not be as reliable as those in the US. To call for an ambulance, you can dial 118 or contact your local police station.
What are medical services in Nicaragua like?
When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Nicaragua, they replied:
"My wife and I are near age 70 - expat health insurance has become too costly. We have Medicare coverage in the USA, so plan to return there in case of required hospitalization (non-emergency). We joined a "health plan" that offers discounts at one of the best hospitals in the country," said an expat in Tola.
What are emergency services like in Nicaragua?
When we asked about emergency services, members in Nicaragua wrote:
"Consider using Hospital Vivian Pellas in Managua for critical healthcare. Look for a local doctor that speaks English for routine healthcare. We have Medicare in the USA, so we could return there for hospital care if desired. Most medications can be obtained without a written prescription (excluding opioids)," commented one expat who moved to Managua.
Will I need to travel to see a specialist?
"My wife had critical care for atrial fibrillation at Hospital Vivian Pellas, and we were very satisfied with their service. However she ended up needing cardiac ablation, which they were not equipped to perform. We went to a Johns Hopkins related hospital in Panama for that procedure. Also very good care there (my granddaughter also had cardiac surgery there.) Hospital Vivian Pellas has a discount program for their services, not really "health insurance". We joined the discount program since we have needed their services periodically. We are in our early 70's - we previously had international health insurance, but premiums increased every year while in our 60's and it became excessively costly or unavailable when we turned 70," mentioned another expat in Managua.
"At last count there were about 5 hospitals and a few clinics around Granada. At least 1 is private," commented one expat living in Granada, Nicaragua.
What have your experiences during the pandemic with the local healthcare system been like?
We asked members about local medical facilities in Nicaragua, they wrote...
"The government in Nicaragua tends to downplay the pandemic, so it is hard to tell how well people are treated if sick. When we returned from a trip to the USA a few months ago, the government health authorities called to check on our health a few times after our return," remarked another expat living in Tola.
What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Nicaragua?
We asked expat moms who gave birth in Nicaragua about their experiences and advice they have for other moms to be. They said:
"When having a baby in Nicaragua it is important to research the available medical care options in advance, and make sure that the hospital or clinic that you choose meets your needs and expectations. Additionally, you should make sure to bring all of the important documents for your newborn such as the birth certificate and passport applications. It is also important to make arrangements for childcare before the baby arrives. Before giving birth, you should also consider finding a reliable pediatrician. Lastly, it is important to support the communities that you live in, and try to become integrated in the culture, as the people of Nicaragua will welcome you with open arms," remarked another in Nicaragua.
Are healthcare services good in Nicaragua?
We asked people if they have access to good medical care in Nicaragua. They wrote:
"Healthcare services in Nicaragua are severely lacking. Originally, Nicaragua managed to counter the region’s problems of access and quality, but since the 1980s, it has declined in its healthcare services. The health sector of Nicaragua has been considerably harmed by the US economic embargo and Contra war, resulting in badly underfunded health clinics and hospitals. Many hospitals, mostly in rural areas, are extremely understaffed and overburdened. Health care amenities are mainly limited to the poor urban and rural divisions of the country. In addition, medical affordability is extremely limited as most supply periods are expensive and medical staff wages are significantly low," added another person living in Nicaragua.
"One of the most modern hospitals in Central America is 45 minutes away. We do not have health insurance which will shock many people but the USA is one of very few countries without universal health care. We love our doctor who we feel is better than any doctor we have had in the states. He speaks English and we trust him completely. The office visit is $15. Medical costs are low enough to pay as you go. Our prescriptions are less than the co-pay amount was in the states. How can that be? They are the same drugs," explained one expat living in Granada.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.
- What do I need to know before moving to Nicaragua?
- How do I find a place to live in Nicaragua?
- What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Nicaragua?
- What is the average cost of housing in Nicaragua?
- Should I buy or rent a home in Nicaragua?
- What should I pack when moving to Nicaragua?
- What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Nicaragua?
- Why do people move to Nicaragua?
- How are healthcare services Nicaragua?
- What are medical services in Nicaragua like?
- What are typical rents in Nicaragua?
- What appliances are typically included in a rental?