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Discovering Việt Nam (or Vietnam) - what a great opportunity! But whether you're planning a visit or going to live there, you'll need to prepare carefully, especially when it comes to health insurance. Whether it's a consultation with a general practitioner or a hospital stay, medical expenses can quickly add up.

Future expatriates in Vietnam, follow our guide for everything you need to know about local health insurance!

  Table of contents

Understanding the healthcare system in Vietnam

The Vietnamese healthcare system: public and private

Special features of Vietnamese health insurance

Social Security in Vietnam

Health insurance for expatriates in Vietnam

Health insurance for tourists and expatriates in Vietnam

Health insurance for companies in Vietnam

Getting medical treatment in Vietnam

Do you need Covid insurance for Vietnam?

Understanding the healthcare system in Vietnam


The Vietnamese healthcare system has evolved considerably since the reforms of 1986 which gave public hospitals financial autonomy and improved hospital facilities. These changes have taken place mainly in the major cities so it’s sometimes easier to access healthcare in urban areas than in the provinces. Despite these improvements, there’s still a long way to go before the Vietnamese healthcare system reaches international standards.

The private sector has also developed as a result of the reforms. However, it remains largely uncontrolled by the State and can therefore pose risks.

As the quality of care varies, we advise taking out private health insurance with a verified, high-quality medical network, whether in Vietnam or in neighboring countries. If you were to have an accident, you'll be sure of receiving proper care (even if you have to opt for medical evacuation) and you'll benefit from better coverage.

The Vietnamese healthcare system: public and private

The Vietnamese healthcare system is divided into two main sectors: public and private.

  • The public sector is organized according to an administrative hierarchy with the Ministry of Health overseeing provincial and municipal health authorities. Public hospitals are generally affordable. However, as mentioned above, the quality of care can vary, facilities are often overcrowded and may not have modern medical equipment.
  • The private sector offers far better service and comfort than the public sector (a network of private clinics offering quality care) but prices are considerably higher. To cover these costs, many insurance companies offer packages tailored to individuals, couples, retirees and families as well as their dependents.

Special features of Vietnamese health insurance



In Vietnam, certain endemic diseases, the tropical climate and frequent road accidents increase the risk of unexpected medical expenses.

Local insurers may also refuse to cover certain specific cases, such as diabetes, cholesterol or hypertension.

As far as healthcare facilities are concerned, the medical care provided in Vietnamese hospitals may not meet international standards, making quality treatments and medicines imported from Europe more expensive. You should also bear in mind that Vietnam does not have a Social Security agreement with France.

Social Security in Vietnam

Vietnam Social Security (VSS) provides two main types of health insurance. One is compulsory health insurance which applies to all workers on permanent contracts or contracts lasting more than three months, as well as to some twenty other categories of insured persons, with the aim of extending coverage.

The different types of coverage are designed to achieve the VSS's ambitious goal of covering all seniors and 91% of the country's population.

However, healthcare facilities in Vietnam do not always meet international standards and are often overcrowded, leading many residents to turn to private hospitals and clinics.

What's more, there’s no Social Security agreement with France, which can complicate matters for French expatriates.

Finally, as part of its dynamic development, Vietnam has seen a rise in its standard of living and life expectancy, leading to an increase in healthcare expenditure. Consequently, reliable health insurance is essential to cope with these unforeseen expenses.

Health insurance for expatriates in Vietnam

Living as an expatriate in Vietnam means understanding how the local health insurance system works. Foreign residents in Vietnam can join a compulsory health insurance scheme. However, this scheme only covers a quarter of medical expenses. For this reason, it’s strongly recommended that you also take out supplementary health insurance.

For French expatriates, one option is to join the “Caisse des français de l'étranger” (CFE) for healthcare-maternity-disability, occupational accidents and diseases, and old-age insurance. However, this does not guarantee full coverage, especially in case of serious illness or accident.

Some insurers offer health insurance plans designed specially for expatriates, covering medical consultations or hospitalization in Vietnam and elsewhere. These plans provide coverage in case of medical evacuation, a crucial aspect to bear in mind given the risks of endemic diseases and road accidents.

Expatriates working in Vietnam are also required to contribute to the compulsory health insurance scheme. So it's important to understand the specifics of health insurance in Vietnam in order to choose the best coverage option.

Health insurance for tourists and expatriates in Vietnam


Things to consider for your stay in Vietnam

There are several points to consider if you want to choose the right health insurance for you and enjoy your stay in the country:
  • Level of coverage: This criterion enables you to determine the amount reimbursed for medical consultations, hospitalization, or dental and vision care.
  • How reliable is the insurer?: It's essential to check the insurer's reliability, based on customer reviews and the quality of the services offered. You can also compare different offerings to find the most popular plan or seek advice on expatriate forums.
  • Past medical history: Some Vietnamese insurance plans don’t cover expatriates with previous medical conditions. Make sure you choose a plan that covers this type of situation.
  • Medical evacuation: If the treatment you need is not available in Vietnam, make sure your insurance covers the cost of evacuation to a neighboring country.

Long-term expatriation in Vietnam, volunteering, a world tour... We've listed a few points to check, but some details will depend on your own personal reasons for going! Don't hesitate to consult our comprehensive article to help you prepare a personalized checklist.

In short, choosing the right health insurance for your trip is a key step towards discovering the country with complete peace of mind. Be sure to get as much information as possible.

Health insurance for companies in Vietnam


In Vietnam, companies are required by law to provide health insurance for their employees. However, mandatory health insurance covers only a small portion of medical expenses. As a result, many companies supplement this coverage with private health insurance for their employees, particularly expatriates and senior executives.

Private insurance often provides more extensive coverage, particularly for treatment in private clinics or hospitals, the cost of medical evacuation, or coverage of specific illnesses. These benefits can be tailored to the specific needs of each company and its employees. This is a major advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

Private insurance can also be a solution for the self-employed who can voluntarily join the country's Social Security system.

Getting medical treatment in Vietnam


Cost of a medical consultation in Vietnam

  • General practitioners:
Generally speaking, doctors work in hospitals. In case of a serious problem, we recommend medical evacuation to a nearby country (Hong Kong, Thailand (Bangkok), Singapore), where medical techniques are much more advanced.
A consultation in the private sector can vary from VND 844 (USD 40) to VND 2,111 (USD 100).
  • Specialists:

The Vietnamese place great importance on traditional Vietnamese medicine, which is very similar to traditional Chinese medicine (acupuncture, herbal remedies and exercises such as tai-chi and qi-gong, and tui-na massage).



Hospitalization in Vietnam

  • Vietnamese hospitals:

We recommend using private hospitals in major cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh or Danang. Public hospitals, which are often busy, are still under-equipped and lack qualified doctors. The quality of care is also likely to vary from one hospital to another and you will usually have to pay in advance for surgery. If you have international health insurance, you should opt for treatment within your supplementary insurance provider’s medical network. That way you benefit from better pricing conditions and easier coverage of your treatment.
  • Emergencies:

Due to a shortage of ambulances, illegal ambulances operate in the major cities so be careful. In an emergency, it’s best to use private hospitals which have their own ambulance service.
  • Hospital fees:

As explained above, hospitalization in Vietnam comes at a price, especially in the private sector.

Since June 2023, around 50 major hospitals in Vietnam have increased their fees for people who are not covered by health insurance.

However, your actual costs will generally be covered if you have international health insurance. Be sure to check your benefits carefully to see what treatments are covered!

And don't forget to check if your hospital is included in the insurance and if you have to declare certain health risks.


Cost of dental and vision care


Dental and vision care can account for a significant portion of medical expenses for expatriates in Vietnam.

  • Dental care: A routine consultation is generally inexpensive (around 10 euros) and, depending on the services required, rates remain reasonable.
  • Vision care: Vision-related expenses are often poorly reimbursed. Some health insurance plans cover all vision care, including laser surgery for myopia and astigmatism. If you have a particular requirement (if you wear glasses or contact lenses, for example), don't hesitate to include this type of coverage in your plan.


Buying medication in Vietnam

Be careful when buying medicines, as counterfeit drugs are widespread in Vietnam, even in so-called "official" pharmacies.

To avoid any mishaps once you're in Vietnam, it's best to take all your medication with you rather than buying it locally.

Don't forget your prescription, as without it, customs officials may confiscate your medication.


Do you need Covid insurance for Vietnam?

Some insurance companies provide COVID-19 coverage automatically while others only provide it on request. It’s not currently a requirement to enter the country but we strongly recommend taking out Covid insurance before you leave.

Medical expenses for the treatment of illnesses can be quite high so it’s important to have adequate insurance. Vietnam only requires a minimum coverage of USD 10,000 for medical expenses, which is lower than in other countries such as Thailand, where the minimum coverage required is closer to USD 50,000.

In conclusion, health insurance in Vietnam is a complex subject that requires special care and attention. Oriental and Western medicine go hand in hand in everyday life, as well as in health monitoring, and make for a particular way of working. Prices, coverage... there are differences to be aware of!

As a future expatriate in Vietnam, don't hesitate to come back to this article and get all the information you need to prepare for your trip!

For more information

Find out about other countries' healthcare system

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