Brunei Health Insurance
The complete guide!

How does the state health insurance system work?

The government subsidises healthcare for all citizens of Brunei, which has one of the best public healthcare systems in Asia. The country also has an efficient air ambulance system to bring patients in from remote areas: much of the country is covered by rainforest. Mobile clinics are also deployed.

In the urban centres, Brunei has two main hospitals, the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (RIPAS Hospital) and the Jerudong Park Medical Center. In addition there are four smaller hospitals, eight medical clinics, and seven dialysis centers. Rural regions are served by a network of 15 health centers and 40 health clinics. Brunei Shell Petroleum also runs a health clinic.

Healthcare is of a high standard but some specialist treatment may not be available, hence citizens sometimes travel to neighbouring states such as Singapore for medical treatment: if this turns out to be necessary, the Brunei government will pay. The government spent over 12 million BND in 2011-12 on healthcare for Brunei citizens in Malaysia and Singapore.

Medical tourism is a growing industry in the private medical sector.

The government is increasingly focusing on the digitisation of the healthcare system, such as centralised medical records.

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Who is eligible for state healthcare?

Citizens of Brunei are eligible. Expats currently are not, but you can still access the public healthcare system by paying out of pocket, or the private sector if you have private insurance coverage.

How do you apply to join the state health insurance system?

As an expat, you will not be eligible to join the state system, but you can contact your local public clinic or hospital to see if they will treat you for cost, or if they will accept your private insurance.

What is covered by the state health insurance system?

The state health system covers:

  • primary care
  • hospital care
  • emergency care
  • tertiary care
  • illness prevention campaigns
  • management of chronic diseases
  • flu treatment clinics
  • nurse-led clinics which can give you advice on diabetes and other non-communicable diseases as well as screening programmes
  • chronic disease clinics

Healthcare services in Brunei are divided into two major sectors:

  • Directorate of Medical Services (nursing, dental, hospital, laboratory, pharmaceutical and renal services)
  • Directorate of Health Services (community healthcare, environmental health, scientific services)

Treatment is either free or with a very small co-pay, for example 1 BND ($0.71) per consultation. You can either walk in or set up an appointment.

Are retirees covered by state medical insurance?

No; you will have to pay out of pocket in the public sector or take out private health insurance.

Are students covered by state medical insurance?

You will need to take out private health insurance if you are studying in Brunei: you can check with your educational provider to see if they provide an in-house or recommended coverage.

Will your family be covered by your insurance?

You will need to take out private insurance for your dependents or check with your employer to see if your corporate insurance plan, if you have one, covers your family as well.

Is dental treatment covered by state health insurance?

Basic dental treatment is covered by the Directorate of Medical Services. It is heavily subsidized by the government, so you will need to pay some of the cost in the public sector, and includes:

  • primary oral health care
  • specialist care services (such as orthodontic care, oral surgery and restorative dental treatment such as implants)
  • school dental services
  • oral health promotion services

Brunei also has a flying dental service for more remote regions of the country.

What are the contribution rates for state health insurance?

As an expat, you will not be paying contributions into the national insurance system. Public healthcare in Brunei is largely funded from natural resource revenues, direct and indirect general taxes, rather than premium payments. The country has a single pool for revenue collection which goes towards national health insurance.

Why buy private health insurance?

As an expat in Brunei, you will either arrange private insurance independently, or you will be covered through your employer. Check with your employer to see what your coverage includes, but it is advisable to ensure that it contains a medical evacuation clause in case you need to seek treatment outside Brunei, for instance in Thailand or Singapore.

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What is covered by private health insurance?

Private health insurance will cover primary care and hospitalization, plus any specialist treatments. If you have a chronic illness or are planning life changes such as pregnancy, make sure that these eventualities are included in your policy. It will also cover elective cosmetic surgery, advanced dental treatment, and elective eye surgery such as LASIK.

How much does private health insurance cost?

This will depend on factors such as your age and any pre-existing conditions, and the kind of package you opt for (obviously, a more expensive insurance package will give you more a extensive range of treatment and facilities). As so many variables have an effect on the cost of international private medical insurance it becomes very difficult to give accurate estimates without knowing the full details of the coverage required.

However, as a very rough guide, using a standard profile of a 40 year old British male with no deductibles, no co-insurance, a middle tier plan/product, all modules included and worldwide coverage excluding the US, a ballpark price of around £4,000/$5,000 might be expected. Were coverage to be expanded to include the US then the premium could increase to almost double that amount.

Which companies offer private health insurance?

The main international providers cover Brunei, such as:

  • Cigna
  • Expat Financial
  • Foyer Global Health
  • Pacific Prime

Glossary of health insurance terms

You should have few problems with communication as many medical personnel speak English, and since there is no medical school in the country, all doctors in Brunei have trained overseas.

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