Dominican Republic Entices Travellers With Free Health Insurance

Ready for a vacation but worried about COVID-19 health coverage? The Dominican Republic seems to have the answer. In an effort to boost its tourism industry and lure travelers, the Dominican government is offering health insurance to visitors. That’s one less thing to worry about when heading to a tropical vacation spot during a pandemic.

American Airlines, CARES Funding, Service Suspension
American Airlines operates service to Santo Domingo and Punta Cana from its hubs in Miami and Charlotte. Photo: American Airlines

Doors wide open in the Dominican Republic

According to Lonely Planet, beginning September 15th, visitors to the Dominican Republic will not need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival as per current regulations. In fact, this requirement has been in place since July.

Additionally, the Dominican government is dropping its full-scale testing program at the airport. Instead, rapid tests are being performed on randomly-selected passengers.

Sweetening the deal, even more, is the fact that the government covers travelers’ health costs for COVID-19-related incidents. Here’s what the country’s president said to CNN, according to Dominican Today:

“This is a novelty we offer to the entire international tourism sector…While maintaining that the delivery of medical insurance would ensure that if (the tourist) has any contagion or becomes hospitalized, which is a minimal possibility, the Dominican government will pay both the medical costs and transfer to their country of origin.” -Luis Abinader, President, Dominican Republic

Abinader adds that his country is open and has all the conditions for tourists to come without major problems and the risk of contagion. “The same risks of contagion they have in their country of origin would also exist here,” he notes.

United 737
United flies a number of services to the Dominican Republic, including to the capital, Santo Domingo, as well as the resort area of Punta Cana. Photo: Boeing

Tourism a vital part of the Dominican economy

The Dominican Republic’s tourism recovery plan aims to mitigate damage and stimulate the recovery of the nation’s tourism sector. According to Dominican Today, the industry accounts for 8% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The leading destination for international tourists is the resort area of Punta Cana. WorldData states that the Punta Cana International Airport was actually the busiest in the country. The most recent data says that 35 airlines offer service to 46 destinations. Of course, this is likely significantly reduced with the pandemic.

Punta Cana is connected to major airlines and airports such as the following:

  • JetBlue (JFK)
  • United Airlines (EWR)
  • Spirit Airlines (FLL)
  • Delta Air Lines (ATL)
  • American Airlines (MIA and CLT)
  • Air France (CDG)
Spirit Airlines, Biometric Check-in, Chicago, New York
Spirit Airlines flies to the Dominican from its hub at Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Photo: Getty Images

This could be more of a marketing stunt than something considered to be ‘a good deal.’ Coverage can be purchased separately, and its quite possible that the cost of health care for someone who is uninsured would be quite a lot less (especially when compared to American health care costs). However, the fact that tourists are covered just means that there is one less thing to worry about and one less task to take care of when jetting abroad.

What do you think of this offer? Would it entice you to book a flight to the Dominican Republic? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment.