Morocco has a two-tier healthcare system consisting of a public sector, a private not-for-profit sector, and a private for-profit sector. Correspondingly, it has an insurance system made up of both private and public coverage. However, bear in mind that the standard of public healthcare in Morocco may not be as high as you are used to in your home country. As a result, many expats opt for private cover.
Public healthcare in Morocco
You will find a shortage of doctors in the public sector in Morocco. This is because many choose to either work abroad or in the private sector, particularly in rural areas. Also, it’s worth noting that medical equipment is often not of a high standard. In addition, the poorer segment of the population frequently find that they cannot afford medication, and corruption is rife.
The infant mortality rate in Morocco is comparatively high. In 2018, it was in the region of 19.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is decreasing, with a 65% reduction in under five mortality rates between 1990 and 2015.
Delays in diagnoses have an impact on survival rates. For instance, social factors play a part in access to healthcare, resulting in late diagnoses of conditions such as lymphoma. The WHO reports poor health outcomes based on factors relating to decreased and unequal access to healthcare. It concludes that the current healthcare system fails to meet the promises made by the Moroccan government regarding equality of access. Poor administration of facilities is an issue, and so is a lack of governmental oversight.
There are reports that the healthcare surveillance system systematically underreports maternal death, both inside and outside of healthcare facilities. The maternal mortality rate may be 2.5 times higher than that reported. However, the good news is that, even despite this, the maternal mortality rate is falling. Morocco’s national survey on population and family health shows a 68% decline in maternal mortality between 1997 and 2018, due mainly to the increased role of midwives in maternity care.
The WHO notes that Morocco’s healthcare system suffers from an increased burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). These currently account for approximately 75% of all deaths in Morocco, with cancer, metabolic diseases, including diabetes, and cardiovascular disease accounting for 40% of the main causes of death. Injuries account for 7% of deaths, and 18% are attributable to communicable diseases and maternal, perinatal and nutritional conditions.
Morocco has put in place intensive immunisation and disease control programmes. This has resulted in the elimination of major communicable diseases, such as polio, malaria and trachoma. TB still remains a problem in some areas.
However, the health system is still facing huge resource gaps, including with respect to human resources – with a 0.68 physician and 0.84 nursing and midwifery density per thousand of the population in the public sector. Despite an increased budget in recent years, investment in health is still relatively low (less than 6% of GDP), and out-of-pocket expenses remain high (around 54%).
The Moroccan health system is in the process of decentralisation and advanced regionalisation, with the institution of 12 new regions. With the health insurance scheme (RAMED) for the poor and vulnerable opening up in 2012, an additional 8.5 million people were given access to free publicly available services.
Public and private employees are covered by the Mandatory Health Insurance (AMO). However, Moroccan citizens have expressed dissatisfaction with the public health system, including around quality of care and inequities in access to health services and facilities. They point especially to a discrepancy between urban and rural areas. Developing and improving this sector will be a long-term process, and it will require significant government investment and oversight.
You will be eligible for public sector healthcare as an employee, if you are making national insurance contributions. It is likely that you will be paying into the CNSS (Caisse nationale de sécurité sociale/National Social Security) as most expats are private sector workers.
However, public healthcare in the country has been described by expats as ‘dismal.’ It will unlikely be of the standard that you are accustomed to in the West, as mentioned above. You will, for instance, need to supply most of your own things for a hospital stay, including, in some cases, your own blankets. You may also need to pay for equipment, such as syringes and bandages. Expats report that nursing staff are present more to perform routine jobs than to assist the patient. You will have to pay for follow-up care as well.
Overall, the quality of public sector healthcare in the country is not of a high standard, and expats advise that the state system should be avoided where possible.
Private healthcare in Morocco
The private healthcare system in Morocco includes a non-profit sector, which consists of the health assets of the National Fund for Social Security (NFSS), the Mutuals and the National Fund of Social Welfare Bodies (NFSWB), the Moroccan Red Crescent (MRC), and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
It also has an expanding private for-profit sector, which includes GPs, dentists, and specialists. The Moroccan private sector comprises 220 clinic centres, 30 dialysis centres, and around 100 radiology units. It has an estimated 6,100 beds and 10,800 healthcare experts.
Most expats take out private health insurance to cover their stay in the country. Out-of-pocket expenses, too, are an option, as healthcare for minor ailments is still relatively cheap. A visit to your GP will cost in the region of US$10 to US$15, and a minor operation will cost around US$500. However, out-of-pocket payments in the private sector in Morocco can add up if you are suffering from anything major. For example, a hospital stay costs around $300+ per day. Many expats opt for comprehensive health cover with international companies.
Your local practice may need you to make an appointment, but some take walk-in patients. If you need blood tests, you may need to go to a specialist clinic.
Since the country has strong historical links with both Spain and France, patients are sometimes transferred to hospitals in these countries. It is therefore advisable to take out cover that has a medical evacuation clause. Medical evacuation can cost nearly US$30K if you pay out-of-pocket, so considering insurance is imperative.
Some companies include private health policies, as part of employment packages, to top up public health insurance. Check with your employer to see whether you will be covered during your time in Morocco.
If you are going to be living and working in Morocco, then you may need to access prescription medication while you’re there. This article looks at what is available, how much prescriptions cost, and how to get the care you need.
What is available?
Moroccan customs do not keep a list of prohibited products, but they advise anyone travelling with prescription medication to ensure they carry a copy of their doctor’s prescription. This should cover both the medication type and quantity. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you should contact the Moroccan Embassy. You may encounter problems if you wish to travel with ADHD medication.
Take your medication with you in your hand luggage, in case your check-in baggage goes astray. Keep it in its original packaging, and take a three-month supply, assuming your doctor will prescribe this for you.
Do not ask friends to send you medication through the post, as this will be impounded by Moroccan customs.
Ordinary medication is widely available over the counter or on prescription, particularly in the cities. You may find it difficult to access specialist medication.
Currently, pharmaceutical sales represent around 1.47% of Morocco’s GDP and 24.4% of the total health expenditure of African nations. Pharmaceuticals represent the second largest industry in Morocco, after phosphates.
Three professional associations in the country represent various sectors:
- The Moroccan Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (AMIP)
- Les Enterprises du Médicament au Maroc (LEMM) of multinational companies
- The Moroccan Association of Generic Medicines (AMMG)
Regulatory procedures come under the control of the Drugs and Pharmaceutical Directorate of the Ministry of Health.
How much do prescriptions cost?
Medication costs depend on the status of the drug in question. The government has outlined plans to:
- Reduce retail mark-ups and VAT for chronic illness medicines
- Improve the medicine supply chains
- Increase the number of qualified pharmaceutical staff and facilities
- Promote the rational prescription of medicines
Your national insurance contributions cover prescriptions to some extent, and the number of reimbursable drugs has recently been increased. Some locals struggle to access medication due to cost, but most expats don’t face this problem.
If you are enrolled in AMO (the voluntary public health insurance scheme), you may still need to make some upfront payments, but these are very cheap compared to in the West. It usually costs a few dollars for prescription medications. Otherwise, you will need to pay out of pocket, but again, this will not be expensive.
How to get the care you need
The National Travel Health Network and Centre and the WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Morocco:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Morocco has a large number of pharmacies – the second largest pharmaceutical network in Africa, according to some authorities – and you should be able to shop around. Make sure you find a pharmacy that handles prescriptions, however, not just one that sells cosmetics.
If you are intending to give birth in Morocco, you will need to make a decision early on regarding whether you want to use the public or the private sector. It should be noted that the public healthcare system is well below the standard of those in Western nations, and many expats opt for private cover to avoid it.
How to decide on a birth plan
A birth plan is a list of what you would like to have happen during labour and afterwards. It is written so that your doctor knows what your wishes and expectations are.
- Where do you want to give birth?
- Who do you want to have with you (e.g. your partner)?
- What kind of birth do you want (e.g. vaginal birth or a Caesarian)?
- Do you need any birthing aids?
- Do you want pain relief, and if so, what kind?
- What kind of birthing environment would you prefer?
However, you should be aware that birth plans are not a commonplace aspect of maternity care in Morocco, and it might be better to establish the above in a series of questions to your GP/midwife, rather than as a presented birth plan per se. One expat mother reports that she was given blank looks and that her birth plan was revised down to ‘have a healthy baby.’
Morocco has a high rate of C-sections, and if you are averse to this in normal circumstances, you should make this clear. Ask your GP any salient questions up front, such as whether they work with a midwife and how they feel about working with alternative care practitioners. Be very clear about the kind of pain management you will require, as this can be basic, and you may have to ask for it, rather than it being readily on offer.
Maternity care in Morocco
You will be eligible for public sector healthcare as an employee, as long as you are making national insurance contributions. It is likely that you will be paying into the CNSS (Caisse nationale de sécurité sociale/National Social Security), as most expats are private sector workers.
However, giving birth under the state system is not recommended. You will not have a separate room, you will experience very little privacy, and you will have to supply many things yourself, including towels, blankets, and even, in some reported cases, sheets. Even in the private sector, it is advisable to take a bag with you containing everything you might need.
Published studies suggest that the system systematically underreports maternal death within and outside of healthcare facilities, and that the maternal and infant mortality rates are unacceptably high.
You should also note that pregnancy outside of wedlock is an offence in Morocco, as the country is a traditional Islamic society. The mother is held responsible. This is a serious problem in Morocco, and babies are not uncommonly abandoned. As an expat, you need to be aware of this and may prefer to get married before you enter the country.
You can choose your own doctor and clinic. Make sure you choose a person and a facility that makes you feel comfortable. Many medics in the private sector speak English or French. You must be under the care of a doctor, as well as a midwife. You will have more choice if you are in a city; access to maternity care in rural areas is limited, and some mothers move into an apartment during the last few weeks of their pregnancy, if possible, in order to access urban hospitals.
Private sector provision varies in quality, so do your research and do visit clinics. Check, for example, what sort of neonatal and postnatal care they offer, what kind of equipment they have, such as air conditioning, and what kind of costs you are likely to have to pay.
Typically, you will be visiting your GP every couple of weeks. You will have to pay for blood tests and are likely to have to get these undertaken at a separate laboratory.
You may also need to insist that a relative be allowed to stay with you. You may need to fight for this, as some expats report that fathers are not always permitted to stay with mothers during labour. This can be a particular issue if your partner is the one who speaks Arabic.
After the birth, however, if you have Moroccan in-laws, you may find yourself having lots of visitors, so do not be afraid to set firm boundaries.
Vaccinations will take place once you have left the hospital, so check the vaccination schedule with your GP.
During the course of your pregnancy and after the birth, you will find that you are often the centre of attention in Morocco. This is a country where children are highly valued and expectant mothers are pampered.
Will my baby be a Moroccan citizen?
A child born in Morocco to unknown parents is a Moroccan citizen. According to Moroccan law, any child born in Morocco to foreign parents, who themselves were born in Morocco, can become a Moroccan citizen, provided that they make a request to that effect. However, being born in Morocco does not automatically confer citizenship, if the baby does not come from Moroccan ancestry.
Morocco has a two-tier healthcare system, but public healthcare in the country is not at an advanced level of development. Most expats in the country opt for private cover, in order to avoid lengthy waiting times and, often, low standards of healthcare and medical equipment. You should bear this in mind when registering with the healthcare system.
How does the Moroccan state health insurance system work?
Morocco does not currently have a universal or compulsory health insurance system, although it does have a public health insurance scheme, AMO – this is a voluntary health insurance system for certain segments of the population.
The system is divided into the national social security, known as caisse nationale de sécurité sociale (CNSS), for employees in the private sector and National Social Welfare Organisations, also known as caisse nationale des organismes de prévoyance sociales (CNOPS), for those employed in the public sector, such as civil servants. A system called régime d’assistance médicale aux personnes économiquement démunies (RAMED) is also available for lower socio-economic brackets.
You will be entitled to coverage under the scheme if you have been making national insurance contributions for 55 days.
Private sector employers will need to enrol you in the CNSS, so that you can be issued with an insurance card and receive AMO benefits. Public sector employees must register with CNOPS in order to access AMO benefits.
AMO will cover basic dental treatment. However, like other medical facilities, dental care in Morocco might not be of a high standard.
Some companies include private health policies as part of employment packages, to top up public health insurance, so check with your employer to see whether you will be covered during your time in Morocco.
If you are working in one of Morocco’s cities, such as Casablanca or Rabat-Salé, you should have little difficulty in finding a local GP. However, the situation may not be the same in rural areas. The number of medics in the country is decreasing – many move to France (due to linguistic reasons) – and there is an overall shortage of doctors.
Around 53% of GPs choose to work in the more lucrative private health sector, and the Ministry of Health has consequently noted problems with the provision of doctors in rural areas. To address this ‘health desert’, they are, from 2018 onwards, encouraging overseas doctors, mainly from Senegal, to work in more remote parts of the country.
You should find some English-speaking medical personnel, and most doctors will also speak French, which is one of the official languages of the country. A number of doctors have trained in France.
GP surgeries are usually open from Monday to Friday (from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m) and on Saturday mornings (from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m). If you are using the public sector, then you may not need an appointment, but be prepared to wait. An appointment with a GP will cost you around €8 to €10, and to see a specialist will cost you from €10 to €15.
Private health insurance in Morocco
You may choose to take out private cover in Morocco. Consult local colleagues and contacts regarding private clinics, as word of mouth is often a reliable method of selecting a good medical provider. If you find a clinic, do not be afraid to ask for testimonials and references, and do not allow yourself to be talked into procedures that you do not strictly need. For example, some expats have reported being talked into dental crowns when they’ve only been looking for routine check-ups.
Since the country has strong historical links with both Spain and France, patients are sometimes transferred to hospitals in these countries, and it is therefore advisable to take out cover that has a medical evacuation clause. Medical evacuation can cost nearly US$30K if you pay out of pocket, so considering insurance is imperative.
Morocco can be a challenging place in which to work and live, and if you are an expat in the country, it makes sense to take care of both your mental and your physical health. This article will take you through your options when it comes to safeguarding your mental health. The best ways to keep physically well are outlined here.The Moroccan Ministry of Health estimates that around half the Moroccan population are suffering from a mental illness of one form or another. According to reports carried out in 2017, the country’s public healthcare sector suffers from a critical shortage of psychiatrists and mental health personnel. Morocco has only 197 psychiatrists, which equates to an average of 0.63 psychiatrists per 100,000 inhabitants. This does not compare well to the global average of 3.66 psychiatrists per 100,000 inhabitants. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has backed up claims that mental health provision in the public sector is of a low quality and has poor outcomes.
Moreover, the infrastructure in Morocco remains insufficient, and there are significant delays in treatment. Casablanca has only three mental health centres: the Ibnou Rochd Hospital, Tit Mellil and El Hank. These must suffice for the largest urban population in the country.
The main asylum, the Bouya Omar Mausoleum, was closed in July 2015. This followed realisations that it was not fit for purpose and accusations of human rights violations; patients were kept in filthy conditions and chained to the walls. The patients were released. Nonetheless, there is still not enough provision to hospitalise patients in severe need.
A draft law was drawn up in 2015 to protect the rights of people with mental disorders, but it came under fire from the country’s mental health professionals, as the bill was apparently pushed through parliament quickly and without consultation from the Moroccan Society of Psychiatry or the Association of Private Psychiatrists. The content of the draft law was placed under review as a consequence.
Further to this, three regional psychiatric hospitals in Agadir, Kenitra and Kelaa Sraghna were proposed, in addition to four facilities specialising in child psychiatry in Casablanca, Rabat, Fez and Marrakech. The number of mental health professionals is due to be increased, with the aim of training around 30 psychiatrists and 185 specialised nurses per year.
Given the poor quality of public mental health provision, and indeed of general medical care in Morocco, it is advisable not to rely on the public sector when it comes to mental health issues. The majority of expats take out private health insurance. Check with your existing provider to see whether mental health conditions are covered under your current policy, and bear in mind that some insurers will not cover pre-existing conditions for new policies. Some expats suggest that you can obtain a ‘mutuelle’ form of policy that will cover a substantial amount of the cost of psychiatric treatment.
You will find a number of private hospitals in Morocco’s cities, such as Marrakech, Casablanca and Rabat. Hospital and clinic provision in the private sector remains unevenly balanced between rural and urban areas, although most expats will be working in the cities.
The costs of sessions with a private therapist or counsellor will vary. Quotes from Tangier suggest an average cost per session of around US$30, but you can spend considerably less than this (US$10) or more (US$50), depending on your location and the qualifications of your therapist; a more qualified psychiatrist will obviously cost more. Bear in mind that the level of English spoken throughout the country will vary, so you may need to locate an English-speaking therapist, assuming this is your native language and you are not bi-lingual in French or Arabic.
There are some American counsellors working in the country. If you are an American citizen who requires medical attention or hospitalisation, you can contact the US Consulate General in Casablanca for information on available physicians and hospitals. They have a list on their website relating to English-speaking provision, including counselling and psychological and psychiatric services, across a range of Moroccan cities.
Some treatment provision is also given by universities in Morocco. Also, check with your employer to see whether they offer in-house provision or are affiliated with a local therapist or clinic.
You may be able to sign up with a therapist – including one in your home country – online. An increasing number of psychotherapists have gone digital and offer counselling sessions over platforms such as Skype.
In addition to accessing mental health services, there are everyday measures that you can take to safeguard your mental health. Make sure that you are eating properly, take regular exercise (which is known to improve conditions such as depression), monitor your moods and emotions, take steps to limit culture shock (such as by talking to other expats), and keep in contact with family and friends back home (so that you do not become isolated). It is also advisable to look up some basic local laws relating to issues such as workplace bullying, in case you encounter any difficulties in your employment situation.
As an expat living and working in Morocco, you will want to make sure that your healthcare costs are covered during your stay in the country. Public sector healthcare is not reliable, and neither is it of a high standard. Therefore, most expats choose to take out private cover, even if they are eligible for state healthcare.Private cover can be used as a top-up, so that you are not reliant on the public sector, or even as an alternative, so that you can avoid any issues with public healthcare entirely. We will look at some of your options below.
Personalising your health insurance cover
Most expats take out private health insurance to cover their stay in Morocco. Patients are sometimes transferred to hospitals in Spain or France, partly because of the historical links with these countries and partly because some advanced procedures may not be possible in Morocco itself. It is therefore advisable to take out cover that has a medical evacuation clause. Medical evacuation can cost nearly US$30K if you pay out of pocket, so considering insurance is imperative.
Some companies include private health policies as part of employment packages, to top up public health insurance, so check with your employer to see whether you will be covered during your time in Morocco.
You can also pay out-of-pocket expenses in both the private and the public sector. Remember, however, that costs can escalate rapidly if you have a chronic condition or need to see a specialist.
Check the small print of any private health insurance policy to see whether it covers treatments that you may want to access, such as specialist surgical treatment or more advanced dental care, like crowns or dental implants.
Remember to check whether your potential policy covers pre-existing conditions; the definition of a pre-existing condition will vary between insurers. Usually, the term applies to any conditions that present symptoms or for which you’ve been treated in the last five years. This normally includes any conditions you were diagnosed with over five years ago, but some insurers have different time limits on when the diagnosis must have been given.
You may also want to check whether your policy has a ‘hospitalisation’ clause covering you for occasional hospital visits. You may need to discuss this directly with your insurer, in addition to pre-approval.
Take a good look at your potential policy for any cover relating to healthcare that does not apply to you. Some policies have provision for maternity care, for instance, and if you are not intending to become pregnant, then you may wish to reduce your policy costs by having such options removed.
You may also be able to reduce the cost of your premium through cost sharing. This is where you and your insurer share the costs of any treatment. You will pay up to an agreed limit, and your provider will cover the rest. Different insurers will have different ways of arranging cost sharing.
Co-pay: where you pay a fixed sum for your treatment and your insurer covers the rest. For instance, if the total cost of your treatment is €85, and your co-pay amount is set at €40, then you will pay €40 and your insurer will pay €45.
Co-insurance: where you pay a fixed percentage of the total cost and your insurer covers the rest. For instance, if your co-insurance is set at 20%, you will pay 20% of €85 and your insurer will cover the remaining 80%.
Deductibles: where you pay the entire amount allowed for all services provided until the deductible is met. For instance, if your policy has a €1,000 annual deductible, you would pay €85 for each visit to your GP for 11 visits (€1000/€85 = 11.8), after which your insurance would pay out to the doctor directly.
You may also need to take a look at whether there is an out-of-pocket maximum that you would be expected to pay after your deductible has been met.
Let’s say that your plan above, with a €1000 deductible, also has a co-insurance option of 20% and an out-of-pocket maximum of €1500. You will thus pay €85 for 11 visits to the doctor under your deductible until it is met. You will then pay €17 for each visit as your 20% coinsurance, until you reach the co-insurance ceiling of €500 (€1,500 minus the deductible of €1,000), or about 29 more visits (€500/€17 = 29.4). At that point (40 total visits in a year), you would pay nothing more for the remainder of the plan year.
It’s worth doing the maths, especially if you don’t think that you’ll need to make more than a couple of visits to your GP in any one policy period. For example, if you just want dental check-ups with an occasional filling, it might be worth working out whether one or two out-of-pocket costs might be cheaper than full dental cover.
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.
If you are going to be living and working in Morocco, then you may be wondering how best to keep fit and well there. There are various ways to improve your overall health and fitness, and we will look at these below.Many people in the country take full advantage of the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts, flocking to the beaches in the hot Moroccan climate. Watersports are therefore popular, such as swimming, surfing, kayaking and windsurfing.
Morocco’s coast has decent waves all year round, with larger swells in the winter months. Essauoira is held to be a good starting point for beginners, and Taghazoute (near Agadir) is great for more experienced surfers (it also has board hire and repair shops). The Atlantic coast can be rough, with strong undertows, so it is recommended to surfers with experience. Water skiing is popular, as is sailing, and you might like to try scuba diving too.
Windsurfing has existed in Morocco for a long time, and Agadir and Essaouira are well-known centres for this. Kitesurfing is growing in popularity, so you might want to try this if you are looking for something a little more extreme. You will find opportunities for white water rafting and kayaking in the Atlas.
Most towns have a municipal pool, but you may, especially if you are female, prefer to access a pool that is attached to an international hotel.
Make sure that if you are inexperienced and taking lessons, you are signed up with a registered, licensed and experienced professional. Do not be afraid to ask for testimonials.
You may not think of Morocco as a centre for skiiing, but it is. Ouka’meden is a well known resort, and you will find provision for different levels. The season runs from February to April. Toubkal Refuge, up in the Toubkal Massif, is home to off-piste skiing. The Azilal–Bou Goumez–Ighil Mgoun area also offers opportunities. Snowboarding is also available in Morocco. Contact the Fédération Royale Marocaine du Ski et du Montagnisme.
Trekking is a must in Morocco, and you can head up into the Atlas Mountains (with an experienced team), in order to enjoy some of the country’s spectacular mountain scenery. You can also do rock climbing.
Sports generally are popular in the country, particularly football. The Royal Moroccan Football Federation is the governing body, based in Rabat, and the Moroccan national team have qualified for international competitions. Botola Pro is the national competition, and you will see football played at amateur level throughout the country.
Equestrian sports are also found in Morocco, supported by the Royal Moroccan Equestrian Federation. You may even find opportunities for trekking on horseback, such as at the Résidence de la Roseraie at Ouirgane, who run horse treks up into the Atlas Mountains (you may need to bring your own helmet).
The country has an ICC-approved cricket ground, the National Cricket Stadium in Tangier, and the country hosted the 2002 Morocco Cup.
Basketball is also a big sport in Morocco and has been affiliated to FIBA since the 1930s. Similarly, rugby has been played in Morocco since early in the 20th century.
Golf has been available in Morocco since the first golf course opened in 1917. You will find many 18-hole courses across the country, and there is an international-level course at Rabat. There are nine-hole courses at Meknes, Ouarzazate and Bouznika.
Running might not be your idea of fun, especially when you consider the North African heat, but Morocco is home to two marathons: the Marrakesh Marathon and the Marathon des Sables.
Many hotels have tennis courts attached, both clay and hard courts, and tennis is popular in Morocco. Bespoke tennis holidays can be arranged with some providers. The Grand Prix Hassan II was inaugurated as an ATP Challenger event in 1984 and as an ATP Tour tournament in 1990.
You will find many gyms across the country, including some attached to hotels and offering classes, such as Zumba, body combat, yoga, dance and crossfit. For example, you could visit the Marrakech Plaza Spa & Fitness and the Marrakech Canal Forme.
In addition, many hotels have spas attached, and there are many opportunities for relaxation and pampering in the country. Hammam baths and thalassotherapy treatments are widely available, in addition to many forms of massage. Eco resorts on the coast offer yoga, surf and spa options in one package. Vichy also operates a spa at Bouznika. Morocco is an ideal destination for wellness holidays, with its beautiful beaches and warm climate.
You should find it easy to eat healthily in Morocco. Moroccan food relies on a lot of fruit and vegetables, as well as grilled meat and fish, in addition to grains, such as couscous. Seafood is of a high quality there, as much of Morocco is coastal. Tagine is a healthy, slow cooked stew and one of the country’s culinary specialities. The use of spices in Moroccan cuisine is held by some commentators to be good for health, too.
‘Khobz,’ the flatbread served at many meals, is vegan, since it is not cooked with dairy products. Vegans rave about Moroccan salads; not only are they vegan, but there is a wide variety of them. Vegan tagines are widely found, too. Vegans report that some restaurants will swap rice for couscous if you want to go gluten-free.
Your alcohol intake may be restricted, as Morocco is an Islamic country and quite traditional, but you will find plenty of mint tea across the country. Fresh fruit juice is also widely available, as is panaché (which is like a smoothie). Panaché can be made with either cow’s milk or orange juice as its base, so make it clear if you are a vegan.
Overall, you will have many opportunities to keep fit and well in the beautiful country of Morocco.
You will be eligible for some low cost healthcare if you are currently making national insurance contributions into one of the Moroccan health insurance systems, such as the national social security/caisse nationale de sécurité sociale (CNSS). Otherwise, you will require private cover.Note that the public healthcare system in Morocco falls below the standards of those in Western nations. For example, there is a shortage of doctors. Many expats opt for private cover to avoid the problems in the public sector.
State health insurance costs in Morocco
Morocco does not currently have a universal or compulsory health insurance system, as such. However, it does have a public health insurance scheme, AMO – this is a voluntary health insurance scheme. You will be entitled to coverage under the scheme if you have been making national insurance contributions into it for 55 days. The system is divided into the CNSS (see above), for employees in the private sector, and the CNOPS (caisse nationale des organismes de prévoyance sociales/national social welfare organisations), for those employed in the public sector.
Private sector employers will need to enrol you in the CNSS, so that you can be issued with an insurance card and receive AMO benefits.
If you are a public sector worker, you will have to register with CNOPS in order to access AMO benefits.
If you are enrolled in AMO, you may still need to make some upfront payments. These will be quite cheap compared to in the Western medical sector. A visit to your GP can cost between $10 and $15, medications cost a few dollars, and an operation can cost in the region of $500+.
Prescriptions are covered to some extent, and the number of reimbursable drugs has recently been increased. If you are enrolled in AMO, you may still need to make some upfront payments, but again, these are very cheap compared to in the Western medical sector. You will usually need to pay a few dollars for prescription medication. Otherwise, you will need to pay the full cost out of pocket, but again, this will not be expensive.
How much does treatment cost in the private sector?
As above, out of pocket payments in the private sector in Morocco are viable for minor ailments, but they can escalate if you have a more serious illness. For example, a hospital stay costs around $300+ per day. Therefore, many expats opt for comprehensive health cover with international insurance companies.
Medical tourism is becoming an increasingly popular market sector in Morocco, and provision has expanded over the last decade. Growth sectors in the private market include cosmetic surgery, laser eye surgery and dental treatment. It is estimated that the country has around 2000 medical tourists per year, and around 15% of cosmetic treatment is undertaken by overseas clients (most of whom are female). Costs are between 30% and 50% lower than in Europe and significantly less than in the US. The country has 80 specialists and 12 cosmetic surgery clinics. According to the Moroccan Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgery (SMCPRE), liposuction and breast enhancements are the most frequently performed operations.
For cosmetic procedures, prices vary between clinics, so shop around. Here are some sample prices:
• Varicose vein treatment: around €850
• Abdominoplasty: around €2000
• Breast reduction: around €2300
• Breast implants: around €2000
• Liposuction: around €1500
Procedures such as hip replacements, knee replacements and carpal tunnel surgery (for just over €400) are also available in private clinics. You will need to contact clinics for specific costs, and they will be able to give you quotes tailored to your particular needs.
Some sample prices for private dental treatment are:
• Consultation: €40
• X-ray: €40 to €140
• Scaling: €80
• Teeth whitening: €470
• Ceramic crown (metal or zirconia framework): €470
• Full zirconia crown: €470
• Veneer: €650
• Onlay, endocrown or cerec crown: €470
• Partial denture: €370
• Complete denture: €930
• Root canal: €140 to €280
• Composite restoration: €60
• Simple tooth removal: €50
• Surgical tooth removal: €280
• Implants: €582 to €690
Do not be afraid to ask for testimonials, references and proof of qualifications. Some expats report excellent treatment in the Moroccan private sector, but experiences do vary. Contact your local expat community for recommendations. Word of mouth recommendations are often the most helpful.
You may need to contact your insurance provider for permission to undertake a particular procedure. Do not forget to contact your selected clinic as well, so that you can check how they would like to be paid and whether they will accept your insurance.