Healthcare and medical care
In general, healthcare in Cuba is of a high standard and staff is well trained. There is often a lack of hospital beds, ordinary medicines and other supplies, however. Not all medicines are necessarily available at pharmacies.
Travel insurance is mandatory when travelling to Cuba. In order to enter the country, your insurance must cover potential medical, medicine and hospital expenses. It is recommended that you take out all-inclusive travel insurance.
The aim has been to centralise the treatment of foreigners in specific units. You can obtain medical services and treatment as well as guidance in serious illness or accident situations through the Asistur service.
Hotels in some tourist resorts have their own medical services. International Servimed clinics provide urgent treatment. These clinics are located in tourist resorts around the island. For example, the international clinic in Guardalavaca is open 24 hours a day. The Cira Garcia Hospital in turn offers hospital care to foreign patients in Havana.
Charges for doctors’ fees, clinic visits and medicines are usually settled in cash. Keep all receipts you receive. You can claim reimbursements from your insurance company retrospectively on submission of receipts.
In serious illness or accident situations requiring costly medical treatments, you should contact your insurance company so that party responsible for paying the cost of care can be confirmed. The insurance company usually makes payment commitments and coordinates assistance through Asistur.
Pharmacies in Cuba are generally small and the range of medicines varies. It is possible that even the more common medicines are available only in hospitals. It is recommended that you take all medicines you may need with you when travelling to Cuba. Be aware, too, that the practices in Cuban pharmacies vary regarding whether a doctor´s prescription is needed in order to purchase a medicine.
Sources: Embassy of Finland, Mexico, U.S. Department of State: A service of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada