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India Health Guide

Health insurance in India

If you're considering a long-term relocation to India, addressing your health care needs should be part of your advance planning. Aetna International is here to help. We've created this guide to provide health-related information you'll need when preparing for your time in India.


Knowing you and your loved ones have the necessary vaccinations gives you peace of mind when relocating to another country. When your destination is India, the following vaccinations are recommended:

  • Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid

You should also consider vaccinations for:

  • Japanese B Encephalitis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tuberculosis
  • Meningitis
  • Rabies

Malaria is a risk in many areas of India. In any location where the altitude is 2,000 meters or less, take an anti-malarial drug prescribed by your doctor and protect yourself against bites by applying DEET-based repellant and by wearing long sleeves and pants. Vaccine recommendations for travelers are subject to change, so it's a good idea to check current requirements with your doctor before departing. You should also make sure that tetanus and polio vaccinations are up to date for you and other family members.

Health care system

The majority of India's health care is provided by poorly financed government-run hospitals, which often struggle to cope with the high number of patients they treat. In rural areas there is a shortage of even the most basic medical facilities.

In major cities, however, there are private, modern hospitals offering an acceptable standard of medical care. Generally this higher level of care is available only to those who can afford the expense or who have sufficient coverage. For this reason, it is essential for all expatriates in India to take out private health insurance.

Political concerns

India is the world's largest democracy and is a generally peaceful destination for foreign visitors and expatriates. However, certain areas are home to ongoing border disputes and other political tensions and should be avoided. These include Jammu and Kashmir, as well as any areas on the India/Pakistan border that are away from the official border crossing. In light of separatist violence in Assam and sectarian unrest in Punjab, be extremely cautious when you're in these areas.

Other risks

In some areas of India there is a risk of contacting Chikungunyaor Dengue fever, which can be fatal. There are no vaccinations for these illnesses — both spread by infected mosquitoes — so try to avoid bites by following the recommendations above.

Cars and roadways are often badly maintained in India, so take extra care when traveling, especially at night. You should also avoid traveling in rural areas during monsoon season (June — Sept.), because there is a high risk of flooding and landslides at that time of year.

Obtaining health insurance

In light of the potential health risks and the substandard public health system in the country, it is essential for expatriates to obtain private health insurance in India. Aetna International provides the experience and knowledge needed to ensure that you find the high-quality coverage you require and have access to the best possible treatment — whenever and wherever it's needed.

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