Government bodies including the Ministry of Health and the Nicaraguan Social Security Institute are in charge of the public healthcare sector. Despite being very affordable from a Western perspective, the majority of the population cannot afford private health insurance and only have access to the public system.
Nicaragua has a socialised paid medical program called Instituto Nicaragüense de Seguridad Social (INNS) and you don’t have to pay for routine office visits. As an expat you are allowed to pay into this healthcare plan.
Premiums are paid monthly and are based on your monthly income. Generally speaking, under this program a doctor’s visit costs just $25 and a house call only $35. Lab tests are between $10 and $15 depending on the scope of work. Only a small percentage of the population receives private health care services (either for-profit or nonprofit).
The private healthcare sector which includes hospitals and medical clinics is run by health insurance companies and nongovernmental organizations.
Private hospitals offer health insurance plans as well. For example the Vivian Pellas Metropolitan Hospital offers a program very similar to INNS. Depending on your age and any pre-existing conditions you can pay a yearly fee which entitles you to discounts for hospital stays, surgery, prescriptions and more.
To find out more about public and private hospitals read our guide here.