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Health insurance in Laos

How To Get Health Insurance For Expats In Laos

avatar - Megan Lewis

Megan Lewis

Commercial Lead

If you’re looking for international health insurance in Laos, then you already know the public healthcare system there is very different from what you’re used to. Most medical facilities are in the country’s capital city with limited health centres in rural areas. And there’s a huge difference in quality between publicly run health services and private healthcare.

As international insurance specialists, we here at William Russell know how important health coverage is as an expat and aim to make the health insurance process as stress-free as possible. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to get health insurance in Laos as an expat and what to expect from the Laos healthcare system. 

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How to get health insurance in Laos

Getting healthcare in Laos is pretty straightforward. You have two options:

  1. Talk to a broker: An insurance broker will compare multiple private health insurance plans in Laos and give you a price for each. There are many brokers online and others on site in Laos’ capital city of Vientiane.
  2. Talk to a provider directly: By reaching out directly to an insurance provider (like William Russell), you’ll get a quote in just a few minutes. As a specialised insurance provider, we can offer you a wide selection of plans, so you can get the coverage to suit you best while in Laos. 

How to get health insurance with William Russell 

Starting a Laos health insurance plan with William Russell is simple. Here’s how: 

  1. Get a quote on our website in as little as 2 minutes. Add essential details about yourself and where you want coverage. 
  2. You’ll receive four plan options (and an estimated price for each). 
  3. We’ll assign a team member to you who’ll be in touch. They’ll make sure your policy includes all the coverage you need and answer any questions you may have.
  4. After you’ve decided on your policy, apply for a plan. 
  5. Once we approve your plan, simply make your first payment and you’re a William Russell member!

How do plans with William Russell work?

We offer international health insurance for individuals, families, and groups. Naturally, the more people on your international medical insurance plan, the more expensive your plan will be.

A plan from William Russell includes a choice from four plans and up to 3 areas of coverage for health insurance in Laos. 

We call our four international health insurance plans Bronze, SilverLite, Silver, and Gold (the more precious the metal, the more comprehensive the plan).

Our plan’s major perks include:

  • Hospital treatment
  • Local ambulances (including air ambulance)
  • Advanced diagnostic tests
  • Cancer treatment (including genome testing)
  • Transplants
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Access to a 24hr emergency helpline


Only covered in some plans:
Doctor visits and other out-patient care (SilverLite, Silver & Gold)
Routine pregnancy & maternity care (Gold plan only*)
Dental care (different options on SilverLite, Silver & Gold**)

*Bronze and Silver plans cover complications of pregnancy
**All plans cover emergency restorative dental treatment

As a specialised international insurance provider, we also know you need insurance that comes with you. We designed up to 3 areas of coverage, which we like to refer to as zones, for William Russell members who live in Southeast Asia. 

For instance, to get coverage in Laos and the rest of Southeast Asia, you can select Zone 7. Or, if you prefer worldwide coverage, opt for Zone 1 (with restricted USA coverage) or Zone 2 (with no cover in USA). 

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 7
Worldwide cover, with restricted cover in the USA Full cover in most countries, with restricted cover where private healthcare is expensive but no cover in the USA Full cover in Southeast Asia only

Once you’ve selected your plan and area of coverage, you can also select your excess and payment frequency (monthly, quarterly, half-annually, or annually). 

While we make our plans as simple as possible to read and understand, a team member is always available to answer any questions you may have, explain the finer details, and be clear about what your policy covers and what it doesn’t before you sign anything.

Want to know more about our plans to find the right one for you?
Compare our health insurance plans

Why choose William Russell for international health insurance? 

We’re a specialist insurance provider, so our priority is international health insurance for expats. We’ve been giving our members and their families flexible options, transparent plans, and great customer care since 1992.

Here’s how we can make a difference as your international health insurance provider: 

A transparent claims process 

If you have to make a claim, we want you to be confident and clear on how things work. 

There are three types of claims:

  • Out-patient (a treatment that doesn’t require admittance to hospital) – You pay the medical fees, and we pay you back (we’ll ask for a doctor’s note if the bill is over US$500). 
  • In-patient (planned or emergency admission to hospital) – We’ll pay the hospital directly, and you pay them the excess. Always let us know before your hospital stay so we can confirm coverage.
  • Medical emergency (life or limb-threatening) – Get in touch with us ASAP through our 24/7 helpline, and we’ll handle everything from there.
See how transparent our claims really are
Here’s how to make a claim with William Russell

Medical evacuation on all plans 

If you’re in a life or limb-threatening situation, call our 24/7 emergency helpline. From there, we’ll determine if you need a medical evacuation, if the treatment you need isn’t available locally. If you do, we’ll sort the logistics – even if that means an air ambulance from Laos to Thailand for treatment.

We include comprehensive medical evacuation policy in all our plans. With our Medevac Plus add-on you can have repatriation coverage – we’ll pay for transport back home for you and a family member or companion.

Curious to know how medical evacuation works?
Read more about our medical evacuation in this guide

Personalised claim handling within ten days 

Every claim is unique. That’s why we assign you a dedicated policy manager when you become a member, so you’ll communicate with a familiar person. Our streamlined claims process means we assess our claims within ten days, and your policy manager will keep you updated throughout. 

And, if you decide to sign up for our life insurance and income protection policies, you’ll have the same dedicated manager as your health coverage.

Easy-to-understand policies

Understanding your insurance policy is important. At William Russell, we make sure our policies are in plain English, and not full of jargon.

To make sure you’re comfortable, a dedicated policy manager will reach out to you before you finalise your policy so they can walk you through exactly what we’ll cover.

Want to see the policies for yourself?
Read our easy to understand our policies

A highly rated-customer experience 

Our members value their experience with us, which is why we have a 4.4/5 rating on Feefo.

We don’t use call centres because we take a personalised approach to our insurance service. We’re proud of our reputation for great customer service. You’ll have direct contact information for your policy manager. This way, you always know we have your back when you need us.

Insurance that travels with you

Laos is a fantastic location to explore mainland Southeast Asia. You want to focus your energy on making the most of your time there, not worrying if your insurance will cover you in different areas. With 3 zones to choose from, you can set up a policy that covers you where you want to go.

Partnerships with top hospitals in Southeast Asia

We’ve been in business since 1992. In that time, we’ve built some strong relationships with hospitals in Southeast Asia.

Vientiane, Laos’ capital and largest city, is home to Alliance International, one of the hospitals in our network. This means we can bill the hospital directly – meaning you don’t have to worry about paying for anything up front.

For specialised treatment, many expatriates also choose to travel to Thailand. With William Russell, you can have coverage in both Laos and Thailand – meaning we’ll cover you for immediate medical care in Laos and specialised care if you need to cross the border.

We’re connected to over 40,000 medical centres worldwide
Discover the hospitals in our network (including Laos)

Specialists for cancer, emergency, and maternity claims

We know specific claims can be of higher priority than others. To ensure you get the best care possible, we have specially trained claims managers who know the ins and outs of managing cancer, emergency, and maternity claims. They’ll give you the support and confidence you need when you need it most.

Allianz insures your plans

An insurer within the Allianz group insures your plan at William Russell. This means you get the best of both worlds: the personalised care and service of a specialised, family-run insurance provider with the security of a large insurance firm.

Individual, family, and group policies 

Whether you’re flying solo, have a family, or want to cover your employees, we have a policy for you. Our international family health insurance means you can fully cover your family while living in Laos.

Our group policies are also flexible. We can offer differing levels of coverage for each employee, meaning you can get a comprehensive medical insurance plan for your team at a price that suits you. 

Plans for living & working in Laos 6+ months 

We can cover any expat looking to spend at least 6 months in Laos. Some of our Laos members include retirees, students, and expatriates living and working there.

Do you have plans to live and work in Laos?
Start your quick online quote with us now

How the healthcare system works in Laos

Laos has an underdeveloped healthcare system, with services primarily located in the capital city of Vientiane. Though affordable, the standard of public healthcare is poor and doesn’t cover much of the rural areas outside the capital city. This makes medical evacuation tricky and costly. Expats who don’t have health insurance must pay for treatment out of pocket.

Private healthcare in Laos provides better quality care than public healthcare facilities, often with more modern equipment and English-speaking staff. However, the range of treatment available isn’t as wide as in other countries and the medical expenses will be higher than the public healthcare system.

Fortunately, with our comprehensive coverage areas, you can receive treatment in nearby countries with more specialised medical centres (like Thailand or Singapore).

How to stay healthy in Laos: 4 tips

The best way to avoid having to use the healthcare system, whether public or private, is to stay healthy. Here are 3 ways to stay in shape while in Laos:

  1. Avoid tap water: It’s not safe to drink – including water used to wash food. Only use water you can guarantee is clean and safe. 
  2. Learn a few phrases in Lao: Less than 0.5% of the population speaks English, so it’s worth learning a bit of Lao, which can be useful in a health emergency. 
  3. Avoid mosquito bites: While dengue and malaria are considered low risk if you’re just travelling through Laos, your risk increases if you plan to live there for more than a few months (especially outside large urban areas). Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk and use an insect repellent.
  4. Get your vaccinations: On top of your routine vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US and the UK’s National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) suggest you vaccinate for the following before heading to Laos:
  • Hepatitis A
  • Typhoid
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Rabies
  • Hepatitis B
  • Yellow Fever
  • Cholera
  • Tuberculosis


Public healthcare in Laos isn’t free for expats. While the fees are affordable, the standard of facilities and the range of medical treatment available are poor. Opting for private facilities means better healthcare services, but it can quickly become costly (unless you have international health insurance). 

Most expats use private clinics and hospitals in major cities like Vientiane to get a broader range of treatment and find hospital staff who speak English. 

The Lao government doesn’t yet provide universal health insurance to its citizens though there are plans for the country’s Ministry of Health to provide universal health care by 2025. 

Some social security programs cover certain groups, like civil servants and formal sector workers. However, many people, including most expats, sign up for private insurance.

The healthcare system in Laos has been improving, but facilities (especially outside urban areas) won’t meet Western standards. Private facilities may provide better care but at a higher cost. Some serious conditions may require travel to another country with more advanced healthcare infrastructure (usually Thailand).

Choose William Russell for your private health insurance in Laos 

For over thirty years, we’ve been there for countless expats who have looked to move their families and businesses abroad.

By taking out a policy with a specialist provider like William Russell, you’re prioritising your health and well-being, giving you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your life in Laos.

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