Cuba Health Travel Insurance Question

By Circles Robinson

Havana is one of the big draws for tourists visiting Cuba. Photo: Caridad

HAVANA TIMES, March 10 — Cuban authorities have created uncertainty in the tourism market due to a new regulation announced earlier this week that all visitors must have a travel health insurance policy approved by or purchased from the Cuban government.

As several Havana Times readers commented on the post “Cuba Imposes Health Insurance on Visitors”  it makes complete sense that people traveling to the island have coverage that guarantees Cuba’s ability to treat them at a fair cost and maintain its free health system for locals.

Havana Times has consulted several people in the travel industry who speculate that the price for such a policy to be sold by Cuba as of May 1st will range from 7 Euros (US $10) for a month to 5 Euros (US $7) per day.

With Cuba promoting tourism as one of its top cash revenue sources —over 2.4 million people visited the island in 2009— it makes sense for the authorities to clarify the situation ASAP.

People considering a trip to Cuba need to know if their insurance company is on the list of approved firms and, if not, what it will cost for to buy the Cuban policy and what exactly it covers.

14 thoughts on “Cuba Health Travel Insurance Question

  • You can buy cuba travel insurance at

    You can get instant quotes, read complete details and make an instant purchase online. You can even print the instant confirmation of coverage.

    For further help, you can call toll-free at (866) INSU-BUY, 7 days a week.

  • The charge for medical is a result of Cubans in Miami going to Cuba and taking advantage of the medical system to get cheap care. They know people and/or have their carne or know how to give a small bribe so they were saving thousands, amounting to ? when you think of their numbers, (lots).

    So there is no way to control what they do other than charge at the point of entrance.

    I’m sure there are other reasons they are doing this but this is one underlying reason.

  • Two friends flew in from UK into Havana on Sunday night, May 2nd. No one asked them or anyone else on the flight around them for insurance.

  • I just read an online article, published recently, that indicated enforcement of the travel insurance mandate is spotty. Of the handful of people interviewed, only one or two had been asked to show proof of insurance. Can anyone verify this? I’m a shoestring backpacker planning to leave for Cuba in a week and not having to pay this would be a real relief.

    Also, has anyone out there ever tried bribing officials? How’d that go?

  • My wife landed in Havana last night and was forced to pay $200 cu for her 1 month stay with her family !! $260.oo canadian, thats $ almost $9 per day paid at the airport, like it or not !!!

  • Does anyone know if one can purchase this insurance at the airport upon arrival?

  • We are Canadians traveling to Cuba on May 1 so were required to get the latest info. Here is it for those interested.

    If you’re traveling to Cuba you need acceptable medical insurance. Acceptable by the Cuban officials, that is. Although I have Global Medical Assistance thru my workplace (underwriters being Great West Life), neither the travel agents, nor GWL, nor the Cuban consulate were able to tell me if this insurance would be sufficient. Although my coverage through GWL is more than adequate should a medical emergency arise, would it be accepted at the Cuban airport? Possibly not, possibly yes, but who wants to be that stressed out on your vacation? Not me.

    Cuban officials stated an official list of accepted insurers would be provided but have yet to publish such a list and we are now 6 days before this presumed requirement is enforced!

    A no stress option to recommend to my fellow travelers: I purchased medical insurance thru my travel agency (they use ManuLife)…

  • LOL I Re-read my post… A good spelling mistake or freudian slip… Most travelers have some sort of health Insurance at home, (unless you’re from the US…) I would think my Canadian health card and a valid credit card should do the trick…

  • Most people (unless you live in the US) have health insurance at home. Why would you want to travel with out it? That is just plain dumb. Especially considering the fact that many visitors to Cuba stay on the many resorts throughout the island. And many are dinking and eating things that contain bacterias that their foreign stomachs are not used to. That is the least of your problems. With 24hr drinks and the sun and heat, some people tend to over do it. As well breaks and sprains are common occurences on the resorts.
    On a more serious side on one visit i had a serious allergic reaction ot food cross contaminated with shell fish, something that will kill me very fast. And foolishly i did not have epi pens. I was immediately rushed off to a nearby clinic and given shots of benydril and adrenalin. They saved my life. I did not have any money on me and this was no big deal. I returned the next morning and paid them the 80cuc. Just try doing that in the US…

  • I honestly think that this is the worst thing that the government can do. Because of the recession everyone is watching what they spend and how they spend. Everyone is suffering. To pay this extra cost for insurance will make travelers go elsewhere. My husband is Cuban and he himself thinks this is ridiculous. You have to pay this medical insurance, plus $25 to leave the country, and we have to pay $ 40 each to immigration when we stay at my husbands home in Cuba. This is getting to be too much. Like Janee said people will travel elsewhere and Cuba in the long run will suffer even more. People will choice other Caribbean Islands to visit. They should really think hard and long about this. People have always gone to Cuba because its been resonable priced and beautiful. In times of a recession we should all be trying to help out, not add more expenses.

  • I would like to know the name of the company that charges $10 a month. Also, how much does it cost for young children? I have 3 children ages, 2 and 3 (twins) and if I have to pay $5 daily for the four of us, that is very expensive considering that it costs about $2000 to fly into Cuba and I loose 20% of my money to exchange due to the embargo. If I have to pay $3000 just to get there, there will be no way that I can afford the trip considering how much money I have to pay just to survive there.

  • Presumably, by 1st May, there will be some clarification of which insurance policies are approved or not. The problem comes for those travelling around then as a list may not be quick in coming and there is all the uncertaintly now when they want to plan and get things organised. I will probably know a lot more before I arrive again on 2nd July, though.

    I suppose it is fair that Cuba impose a little retribution on US visitors, isn’t it?

    But it is absolutely fair that visitors should pay their own way, whether with insurance or cash, and not sponge off of the Cuban system. When I was last there, a foreigner had to have medical treatment and Cubans obligingly got out of her way and let her jump the queue because she was paying in CUCs. It didn’t seem quite right to me. They were as in need as she was.

  • Cuba already offers such a plan through Havanatur or Asistur, and it costs 5 CUC a day, which is too much if you go for one month. American insurances are not valid in Cuba and therefore this is mostly onerous to Americans (and cuban exiles in the US).

  • The cost should be dependent on what the policy covers. I would think that they would want two types of travel insurance: 1. travel medical that would pay medical expenses that are caused by bodily injury or by sickness; and 2. medical evacuation coverage that would pay for the repatriation of a traveler back to their home country as soon as they could travel so they could be treated by their own medical facilities.

    Such plans probably would cost more than commercial available plans because it would probably be necessary to provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Commercial available policies usually exclude pre-existing medical conditions however, plans that exclude pre-existing medical conditions would not be practicable under these circumstances.

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