Expatriates and travelers in Guatemala must be careful where they seek medical care in the nation. While the country’s private sector contains quality hospitals, its public sector lacks funding, equipment, staff and necessary medications. If you plan to travel or live in Guatemala, it’s important to know which hospitals are safe to visit and obtain an insurance plan that grants you access to the right hospitals.
Quality of Health Care in Guatemala
Guatemala’s health care system is divided into three sectors, including public health care, a private for-profit sector and a private nonprofit sector. Guatemala’s civil war occurred between 1960 and 1996, forcing the country to invest very little in public infrastructure. Because of this, Guatemala had to wait until the 1980s to begin building its current medical system.
Guatemala strives to provide a universal health care system but lacks adequate funding to fully deliver quality health care. The Ministry of Health operates the country’s public health care sector, and the armed forces and Social Security Institute oversee it. Due to widespread poverty, many Guatemalan citizens rely on the public health care system for their medical needs. However, approximately 60% of Guatemalans choose private insurance because it grants access to better services.
Guatemala’s private health care sector provides better medical facilities with brand-name equipment, shorter wait times and staff with high-skill training. Public hospitals in Guatemala sometimes lack the necessary staff, equipment and medications to treat patients. Additionally, public hospitals often turn patients away if they don’t consider their condition a serious emergency.
What to Do If You Become Ill or Injured in Guatemala
Illnesses, injuries and medical emergencies can happen anywhere, so it’s important to know what to do if you need medical care while traveling, working or living in Guatemala. Since Guatemala’s health care system is underfunded, it’s important that visitors and expatriates visit the right hospital if an illness or injury occurs.
Visit hospitals in Guatemala’s private health care sector to ensure you receive the care you need. Public hospitals in Guatemala may turn you away if they consider your condition to be minor, and they may not have the drugs or equipment needed to treat you. Private hospitals are more likely to have the supplies and experienced staff needed to administer necessary care.
Hospitals in Guatemala
All of Guatemala’s private and major hospitals are concentrated in the country’s major cities. Many small towns in Guatemala have little to no medical facilities, but Guatemala City contains excellent health care facilities. If you experience an illness or injury in Guatemala, visit a Guatemala City hospital or another private hospital to receive the best care. Some of the country’s best medical facilities include the following international hospitals in Guatemala:
- Cleveland Clinic in Guatemala
- Centro Médico de Guatemala
- Hospital Herrera Llerandi
- Hospital La Esperanza
- Hospital Angeles
Health Insurance in Guatemala
Make sure you have adequate medical insurance before traveling or moving to Guatemala. Guatemala’s public health care is free to citizens, travelers and expatriates, but it does not provide full quality care. Private health insurance grants access to better medical care, but it is often expensive, and private hospitals in Guatemala typically require insurance or payment upfront if a patient lacks insurance.
How to Prepare for Possible Medical Emergencies in Guatemala
Prepare for medical emergencies before traveling to Guatemala — illnesses and injuries can happen anywhere. Since each country has different health care services and policies, it’s important to be prepared no matter where you travel. Having a plan and resources in place can give you peace of mind and even save your life in emergency situations. To prepare for possible medical emergencies, consider the following tips:
Obtain Adequate Medical Insurance
The medical costs in some areas of Guatemala can be just as expensive or even more expensive than the United States’ medical costs. United States health care plans rarely cover medical care outside of the country, so make sure you have medical coverage before arriving in Guatemala.
Contact a private health insurance company or a travel agent to sign up for a plan that will cover medical treatment overseas. Many health insurance policies will cover short- or long-term travel, so you can easily find an affordable plan to meet your travel needs no matter how long you will be in Guatemala. Research which insurance plans will cover treatment in the best hospitals to make sure you can access the best care possible.
Add Medical Evacuation Coverage to Your Health Insurance Plan
Medical evacuation can save your life, and medical evacuation insurance can save you thousands of dollars if you need to reach a quality hospital or return to your home country. As a traveler or expatriate, you may need air ambulance services in Guatemala for multiple reasons.
Since many rural areas in the country lack medical facilities, you could potentially need evacuation to a nearby hospital in an emergency situation. If you become ill or injured in Guatemala, you may need to return home to receive better medical care or be with family.
The United States Embassy in Guatemala can help you find nearby doctors and notify your family if you experience an emergency, but they cannot pay for medical evacuation services. Make sure your insurance plan includes medical evacuation coverage so you can travel with peace of mind.
Create a Plan
Research quality hospitals near your planned destination in Guatemala and keep a list of them. Make sure you have phone numbers for nearby hospitals and an air ambulance service in case you need an emergency response. You can also dial 1500 for Guatemala’s emergency services from anywhere in the country.
Contact REVA for Medical Evacuation Services
Guatemala is a beautiful country to visit or reside in, but it’s important to prepare for possible medical emergencies if you plan to travel, work or live in the country. Guatemala’s public health care facilities offer free medical care, but they typically lack the necessary equipment, drugs, staff and funding to provide quality care. Make sure you have medical insurance that covers treatment in private hospitals and obtain medical evacuation coverage so you can access air ambulance services.
Trust REVA to provide fast, safe and efficient medical evacuation services if an illness, injury or emergency occurs. Whether you need to reach the nearest quality hospital in Guatemala or travel home to receive treatment from your primary physician, REVA will transport you safely and securely.
REVA’s highly-trained and compassionate medical team will provide critical medical care while our experienced Central America flight team safely transports you where you need to go. Contact REVA to learn more about how our air ambulance services can keep you safe and provide quality medical treatment.