Assurance santé internationale en Inde

Health insurance in India is essential if you want to make the most of your new life here. Protect your health with comprehensive cover for your stay in this nation rich in history and culture.

India is a welcoming mix of religions and traditions, with an alluring climate and a bright future. The most populated nation in the world, India has attracted many global companies, with technology, marketing, banking and engineering among its most promising industries. And with such a low cost of living, there are many reasons why you might want to live, work or visit India.

However, there is currently no option for expats to qualify for public health insurance in India. You may be able to be treated at public hospitals, but while costs are modest, you may prefer a higher standard of care to give you peace of mind. That’s where Cigna Healthcare comes in. Let’s find out more about health insurance in India.

How does the healthcare system work in India?

India provides basic free healthcare to citizens through the Ayushman Bharat program, which instructs the state governments to look after public health, nutrition and general standard of living.

90% of people in India use the free (or heavily subsidised) government-run facilities. The healthcare system in India has been improving since Ayushman Bharat was introduced in 2018, with many hospitals employing English-speaking doctors.

At present, expats don’t qualify for public health insurance in India. Rates for private treatment, and the standards, vary depending on the location. For example, the standard of treatment in a city such as Mumbai will probably be greater than in a rural location, but you would pay more.
Private hospitals in India are generally of a higher standard than the public system. Many Indian locals prefer to pay for private healthcare, to avoid long queues as well as varying degrees of quality.

Although working expats may have health insurance provided by their employer, some policies will only cover treatment at certain hospitals, and a more comprehensive policy may be preferred.


Pros and cons of using India's healthcare system


  • Subsidised for locals – Indian nationals can access free healthcare as part of the government run system.
  • Wide remit - the national system looks to promote public nutrition, wellness and an improved general standard of living.


  • Timely care – it can take days to see a doctor in a public emergency room, whereas private clinics are much quicker, even for specialist referrals.
  • Teleconsultations – you can avoid long waits at surgeries by taking a virtual appointment.
  • Alternative treatments – private practitioners offer different types of medical services, including scientifically supported allopathic Western medicine, plus homeopathic treatment.

What’s the difference between public and private care in India?

Public Private
Free medications are sometimes unavailable. Easier and quicker access to medications.
Waiting times for even basic appointments can take weeks. Waiting times are much shorter.
Basic care can be poor, with some even forced to share beds. Usually access to better quality in more rural areas.


How can international health insurance help you in India?

International health insurance in India gives you security from a financial and medical perspective. Otherwise, you may end up paying more in cash out of pocket if you have any medical issues. And although India’s healthcare is cheaper than some countries, you’d still potentially be better off with expat health insurance in India.

Health insurance can also give you peace of mind if you’re new to India. New arrivals need to be careful with water and food hygiene.

Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria are another potential problem in India, as these insects are present throughout the country.

Choosing your international health insurance

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Compare plans and find a flexible package to suit your needs.

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Why choose Cigna Healthcare for health insurance in India?

  • We’ve a global network of 1,65 million hospitals and medical professionals, so you’ll have access to premium care, wherever you are.
  • Flexible plans that you fit your own personal needs.
  • Our insurance package is recognised by the Indian healthcare system, unlike some other international coverage.
  • Access to alternative care and a wider range of medical treatments through private care.

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No, UK citizens don’t get free healthcare in India. The Ayushman Bharat program is for the local population only. Expats or people travelling to India can get treatment at public hospitals, but only by paying cash out of pocket.

The cost of health insurance in India varies. Factors include which provider you choose, what the plan provides and your own personal circumstances. Get in touch today to find out how Cigna Healthcare can help.

The standard of public healthcare in India can vary greatly depending on where you are. Cities in India generally offer a much better standard, although the government is working on improving healthcare across the country. Private healthcare is more preferable, even for many people born and living in India.