http://havanajournal.com/travel/entry/cuba-to-require-all-visitors-to-purchase-health-insurance-starting-may-1/

HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Travel

Cuba to require all visitors to purchase health insurance starting May 1

Posted March 08, 2010 by publisher in Cuba Travel.
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Rob Sequin | Havana Journal

Starting on May 1, 2010, the Cuban government will require all visitors entering Cuba to purchase Cuba health insurance from government approved vendors.

Only foreign insurance companies approved by the Cuban government will be able to sell this mandated Cuba medical insurance.

If a traveler arrives in Cuba without medical insurance, he/she will be required to purchase coverage from a Cuban government vendor, many of which will be set up in Cuban airports.

This requirement also applies to Cubans living abroad returning for a visit so only diplomats and representatives of accredited international organizations are exempt.

No details regarding cost, coverage or duration were disclosed.

There was no mention of how US travelers to Cuba would be able to buy Cuban health insurance before arriving in Cuba. Due to the US Embargo, Cuba cannot have any business presence in the United States.

One could speculate that this is a way for cash-strapped Cuba to raise revenues and/or to prevent any strain on its existing health care system. It is widely known that the free Cuban health care provided to Cuban citizens is sub-par compared to what is available at international rates to foreign tourists.

The announcement did not mention as to which Cuban health care system the tourist would be covered under by this new mandated insurance coverage.

The Ministry of Finance and Prices (Calle Obispo # 211 esquina Cuba) is responsible for recognizing foreign insurance companies and accrediting those entities inside Cuba. You can try to reach this ministry at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) phone: 867 1920 or 867 1800 ext.4033 y 4034 for more information.

The Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Public Health are also involved with this directive yet no details were given. You can try to reach these ministries at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

Member Comments

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On March 08, 2010, publisher wrote:

I think this new policy can have far reaching effects.

Banks that do business in Cuba cannot have any business operations in the United States and I’m sure this sanction would apply to foreign insurance companies who may sell Cuban health insurance.

Sure, it will be a big money grab for Cuba no doubt but is this a roundabout way to force some changes in the way the US prevents foreign companies from doing business in the US and Cuba.

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On March 08, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

This is for the goverment to makes a little extra money with the local ESICUBA and other local insurers, they are so poorly handled that are almost bankrupt.
The fannies part is that “other countries as US also require travel insurance”.
I travel fairly often and has never been required travel insurance anywhere.

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On March 09, 2010, manfredz wrote:

of course the key questions are:
what exiisting policies will be recognized since many fo us have travel insurance through work or our credit cards.
If required to purchase, what will the cost be
How much will this slow inprocessing time down.

Discussed in other forums and many will be surprised if its actually implemented May 1st. (or at all)

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On March 09, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

If that policy is enforced wait to see a decline in the number of visitors/tourism.

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On March 10, 2010, manfredz wrote:

in another forum, someone who supposedly knows someone says it will be 7 CUC/day for those who do not have insurance from an acceptable company.
Take it for what its worth - maybe correct, maybe totally made up.

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On March 10, 2010, jmw1 wrote:

Perhaps the Cuban government health insurance policy should be printed on a long roll of soft paper aproximately 6” wide with pages perforated every 6” or so…...

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On March 10, 2010, publisher wrote:

Now that the government is paying for sex changes in Cuba, maybe visitors will be covered for these operations too. grin

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On March 10, 2010, jmw1 wrote:

I’m guessing insurance issued only in Canada will be accepted…...

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On March 10, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

That is a dumb decision and in my opinion sooner or later they would recant it because it would affect directly Castro’s pocket (the turism).

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On March 20, 2010, rogdix wrote:

About one year ago while visiting Cuba, I was dumb enough to forget to pack one of my meds. (Condition - angioplasty 2 yrs. ago.)

Whether related or not, - dunno, but I suffered some mild arrhythmia. Hotel nurse shipped me off to the the Polyclinic International, doc took cardiogram, and sent me to see a cardiologist at the local hospital; car and nurse all provided. Gave me an hour of IV for missing meds, - and off back to the hotel. Cost Can$180.00. I had no insurance.

Now, if I can receive this same service (someone above suggested $49.00 for a week’s stay,) then I would be delighted. Thank you Raoul, but it’s too bad you will be losing my Can$180.00 in favour of equivalent services accounted for in Cuban pesos.

Of course this measure is largely introduced to divert divisa from local recipients to the government directly. And at what cost to Cuba? Silly sods they are.

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On March 24, 2010, Yeyo wrote:

I wonder if they already started requiring health insurance.
Anybody knows about this subject?
Pipefitter and Marek any new information from the Cuban embassy in Ottawa and MiamiCuban from the Cuban representation in Washington??

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On March 24, 2010, rogdix wrote:

It was set to start on 1st. May, 2010, but this will probably be delayed due to problems in commissioning the system.

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On March 30, 2010, pipefitter wrote:

The Cuban Tourist board in Toronto says it will have a list of approved insurance co. by April 1.

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On March 30, 2010, jmw1 wrote:

Cuban approved Canadian ins. companies only?

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On March 30, 2010, manfredz wrote:

from british posters on another forum theres also list of british approved ones coming too.  excpect same for any other country except USA, since US companies cannot pay Cuba for services made for Americans needing medical attention.

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On March 30, 2010, jmw1 wrote:

Which forum with brit posters

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On March 31, 2010, manfredz wrote:

Trip Advisor

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On April 08, 2010, CheersTerry wrote:

When this fiasco was first announced I bet that nothing would come of it and that it would simply be much ado about nothing. I’m still sticking to that bet. This won’t affect “normal” tourists, it’s simply another cash grab directed at Cuban Americans.

According to Ms. Ortiz at the Cuban Tourist Board in Canada:

1.) There is no list of accepted insurance companies.

2.) All non American foreign insurance companies are accepted.

If what she says is true (and yes, that’s a big “if”) then any tourist showing up with any non American insurance policy is fine.

That means that only tourists with American insurance companies will be forced to buy the Cuban insurance.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out…

Cheers,
Terry