Healthcare in Sri Lanka: Hospitals and Health Insurance

Healthcare in Sri Lanka: Hospitals and Health Insurance | HealthSoul

Healthcare in Sri Lanka

With a population of just over 20.7 million in 2015, Sri Lanka ranks 58th in the world by population and 124th by total area. The official languages of Sri Lanka are Sinhala, Tamil, and English. The currency is the Sri Lankan rupee.

Sri Lanka ranks 76th in world health ranking per WHO. In 2014, the total expenditure on health per person was $369, which is 3.5% of the GDP.  Sri Lankan males have a life expectancy at birth of 72 years, and females can expect to live 78 years. There are .68 physicians per 1,000 people in Sri Lanka as compared with 2.56 physicians per 1,000 people in the United States.

Hospitals in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has about 600 government hospitals (about 75% of the country’s total, and 93% of the beds), which include dental units. There are also nearly 500 central dispensaries that provide only outpatient care (these usually have less than 100 beds). Most people live within 5 km of a healthcare facility.  These facilities are organized into 3 levels of care:

Primary care level = the central dispensaries plus maternity homes, rural hospitals, peripheral units, and divisional hospitals that also offer inpatient care.

Secondary care level = base hospitals, district general hospitals, and provincial hospitals. In addition to outpatient care, these facilities have general surgical and medical units, at least one obstetric or gynecology unit, and a pediatric unit

Tertiary care level = teaching hospitals and a few provincial general hospitals. These have everything the secondary care level facilities do plus other specialities like neurology, cardiology, and oncology.

Private hospitals (about 200) are found mostly in or near the larger cities. These facilities offer luxury service with a focus on curative and outpatient, rather than preventive, care. They are usually paid for by individuals out-of-pocket rather than with insurance. Most of the doctors working in the private sector also work in government-run facilities. Finally, Ayurveda facilities offer traditional medicine for those who practice it.

Best Hospitals in Sri Lanka | HealthSoul

Health Insurance in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka provides free universal healthcare, including dental care, to all citizens. Private health insurance, with a variety of options, is available through several insurance providers although not many people purchase it. Some private employers offer insurance to their employees, with benefits depending on the company.

Travel (International) Health Insurance in Sri Lanka

Travel, or international, health insurance provides comprehensive medical coverage when traveling outside of one’s home country. Travel health insurance is different from travel insurance, as the latter may provide only emergency coverage but not full medical coverage.

Travelers should check with their health insurance provider, as they may already have an option of international health coverage. If they do not, they can purchase travel health insurance from their home country or the destination country.