Like many sub-Saharan countries, Ivory Coast suffers from a lack of infrastructure, equipment and health professionals. To receive treatment travel to Abidjan, the capital, is often required, and sometimes even to a neighbouring country, unless you opt for repatriation to your home country. Those emergencies can only be covered if you have the appropriate international health insurance.
Health insurance for expats in Ivory Coast
The health insurance system in Ivory Coast
Since 1 October 2019, the country's universal health coverage system (CMU) covers all residents, provided they follow a specific care pathway:
First-line consultation at a referral medical centre, known as the 1st level, chosen at the time of registration: urban or rural health centres, dispensaries (or hospital if there are no 1st level structures in the locality)
Access to a 2nd level care structure (regional or general hospital) or 3rd level (university or specialised hospital centres), only on referral from another referring medical centre
Only certain types of care can be provided outside this care pathway: gynaecological, paediatric, dental, or ophthalmological.
As long as they comply with the care pathway and are provided by public or private establishments under agreement, the CMU will cover 70% of the cost of the care. Thus, a 30% co-payment remains payable by the insured. On the other hand, childbirth is fully covered, albeit partially in the private sector.
How to choose health insurance in Ivory Coast: local or international?
To meet their personal health expenses, nationals and foreign residents in Ivory Coast take out private insurance policies, which offer coverage of their co-payments and reimbursement―which are often partial and capped―of routine care or hospitalisation carried out in private-sector facilities without a contract with the public health system.
Unlike international health insurance, however, local offers do not cover medical transfers to better-equipped neighbouring countries (Morocco, Tunisia) or repatriation, which is often recommended in the event of complex or specialised care needs. Choosing a solution dedicated to expats can also give them access to telemedicine services, which are particularly useful for foreign residents in this country, as it is very poorly equipped in terms of both establishments and health professionals.