Lifestyle

A New Expat Hotspot?

BAHRAIN

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There is no denying that more and more Brits are moving abroad today. For many years, the likes of Spain, Cyprus, and France have been popular spots. However, there is a new place coming on the map, and that is Bahrain. In this blog post, we will provide an insight into Bahrain, as well as providing you with lots of useful information on healthcare in this country and how you can ensure that you and your family are protected.

Why has Bahrain become so popular?

Bahrain has become an exceptionally popular destination for expats. A lot of people move to this area in order to improve their standard of living, as there is a good work / life balance. In fact, in the Expat Explorer Survey that was conducted by HSBC, Bahrain ranked 5th out of 34 countries in regards to overall expat satisfaction. It only fell behind New Zealand, Germany, Canada, and Singapore in the 2018 edition of this popular and insightful survey.

It is important to recognise that life in Bahrain is very different when compared with life in UK, and so an open mind is a necessity. However, the people are extremely warm and welcoming, which makes the whole process a lot easier.

In terms of the survey that has just mentioned, Bahrain ranked particularly highly in the following areas:

  • Work/life balance (4th)
  • Wage growth (1st)
  • Finance (3rd)
  • Tolerance (3rd)
  • Childcare quality (3rd)
  • Healthcare (6th)
  • Job security (6th)

Of course, it can’t all be good news, and so some of the lower ranking elements for Bahrain were as follows:

  • Overall cost of children (25th)
  • Health (27th)
  • Culture (28th)
  • Economic confidence (26th)

The importance of international medical insurance when moving to somewhere like Bahrain

It is not hard to see why this is a popular option for so many people. However, your experience can turn sour quickly if you do not have international medical insurance in place. There is nothing more important than your health and, therefore, this is one of the first things you need to consider before you move. In this post, we will provide you with all of the information you need to know about the health care in Bahrain for expats specifically.

Overall, the healthcare system in Bahrain is impressive. The facilities and professionals are of an exceptional standard. This is only been heightened thanks to the many online healthcare degree programs that are available today. However, expats need to be mindful, as free treatment is not available to foreign nationals. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they are covered if they have a Population Registration Card, but that is not the case.

Before You Go To Bahrain

Before revealing everything you need to know about the healthcare offering in Bahrain, it is vital to point out that you will need to go and see your doctor before you relocate. Most people will require some form of vaccinations and preventatives, such as those for Hepatitis A and B. As mentioned in the survey results, while healthcare is great here, overall health is ranked lowly, so it highlights the importance of being proactive rather than reactive with your health. You should make an appointment with your doctor approximately two months before you leave to discuss this and arrange any vaccinations that are required.

Exceptional Facilities and Highly Trained Doctors

It is always comforting to know that there is going to be a high level of health care in your new location. Bahrain ticks this box. The standard of care is very high – it mirrors what you would expect in any developed country. The facilities are of a premium standard and the doctors are highly qualified. Also, unlike many public health systems, the waiting times are short and there is little crowding. This is something a lot of people aren’t used to! However, because Bahrain has a small population and is developing at a steady pace, the healthcare system is able to accommodate the demand.

No Treatment Is Free For Foreign Nationals

Unfortunately a lot of expats move to Bahrain and find that they face an unexpected medical bill when they fall ill. They are flabbergasted. They have a Population Registration Card, so why are they facing a bill? The Population Registration Card was introduced to provide nationals with free and heavily subsidised healthcare – not expats. This card simply provides travellers with access to the public system. You will still have to pay for all treatment, whether it is emergency or non-emergency.

International Health Insurance

Global medical insurance is the obvious solution for anyone that is relocating to Bahrain. By investing in this type of policy you will be able to get access to best network of hospitals, doctors and facilities. As you will need to pay for public healthcare anyway, it is certainly worth going down the private route instead to benefit from even better care and treatment. Some of the most popular private hospitals in Bahrain include Bahrain Specialist Hospital, the Bahrain Defence Force Hospital (BDF), American Mission Hospital (AMH), International Hospital of Bahrain and Awali Hospital.

Moreover, whilst the standards of hospitals and facilities may be high in Bahrain, sometimes evacuations can be required because specialist care is not available. If you are not covered by international medical insurance this can end up being extremely expensive. Not only will you need to pay for your treatment, but medical transport, as well as the advice given and time spent at your local hospital too. The costs can mount up quickly. Instead, you can ensure that you are financially protected by taking out a worldwide health insurance plan.

Pharmacies And Medicines In Bahrain

Pharmacies are well equipped and open regularly in Bahrain. You won’t have to look far to find one and a lot of the pharmacies are 24-hour establishments. You should be able to find the medication you require with ease. However, if the pharmacy does not have it then they will order it in. One thing to note is that medication is generally quite expensive here, which further highlights why an international health insurance plan comes highly recommended. The biggest pharmacy chains in Bahrain are Bahrain Pharmacy, Wael Pharmacy and Alrahma Pharmacy.

Choosing A Global Health Insurance Plan

Now you know a little bit more about Bahrain and the health system in the country. On the whole it is impressive and you can be confident of quality treatment. Nonetheless, you will need to go down the private route, as free health care is not available to expats. So, how do you ensure you end up with the best worldwide health insurance plan? Here are some tips…

  •    Take out your policy before you go – A lot of people wait until they have moved to take out a policy. This is not an advised approach to take. From the moment you leave your home country you will not be covered if anything goes wrong. We all like to think ‘this won’t happen to me’, but is this a risk you really want to take? By searching for a plan before you go you give yourself enough time to find the right policy.
  •    Network of hospitals – One of the main reasons for taking out international health insurance is to get access to the best private hospitals and facilities in Bahrain. Make sure this is the case by checking out the network of hospitals beforehand.
  •    Make a list of what you need – Global health insurance is a balancing act. What benefits do you need? There is no point taking out a policy that is not right for you.
  •    Don’t underestimate annual limits – One mistake a lot of people make when choosing a health plan before moving to Bahrain is going for a policy with a low annual limit. As mentioned earlier, one of the main issues with health care in this area is that specialist care is sometimes unavailable, which leads to evacuation. This can be extremely expensive when all the costs are added up, which is why you need a relatively high annual limit to cover it.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding regarding this new expat hotspot and why it has become so popular. Nevertheless, if you do decide to move here, protecting your health is critical. Use the details provided to assure that you take the right steps.

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