Lebanon hosts a wide range of both private and public health care. There is a high standard of medical and dental care, especially in Beirut and it's surrounding areas. Many, if not all, health professionals speak English and/or French in addition to Arabic.
Most Lebanese families have a family doctor in their neighborhood that they visit if they need advise or care. If you are new to Lebanon and have yet found one you can always try the Internet directories: www.yellowpages.com.lb or www.lebweb.com.
Another way to do it is the "Lebanese way" - simply ask your Lebanese friends or co-workers to recommend a doctor! This way you can be sure that you will get the best treatment possible (and maybe, as a bonus, you will also get to hear some family gossip about your friend…!). If you have medical insurance, the insurance company can provide you with a list of recommended doctors that are covered by your insurance.
Many employees in Lebanon have their healthcare insurance covered by their employer. The Lebanese Labour Ministry usually demands that even expat workers are covered by insurance in order to approve a work permit. Make sure that you yourself or your employer is paying for medical insurance that meets the requirements of the Labour Ministry.
If you do not intend to work in Lebanon but still want to be on the safe side, you should consider looking for private health insurance that covers Lebanon. Another option would be to contact one of the many private insurance companies offering custom made health insurance packages for expats.
For patients without insurance, cash payment have to be done before any treatment will be executed. If you are not covered by insurance but still needs to go to hospital during your stay in Lebanon, make sure that you can afford the treatment before signing in.
Dental care is comparable to most other Western countries. It is very cheap but still keeps a high international standard.
Lebanon is - among other things - known for its "high-class at low cost" cosmetic surgery. Many Lebanese expats, as well as people from the surrounding Arab countries (and other countries as well), travel to Lebanon during summer to get a nose job and a nice tan on the beach. Most private cosmetic surgery clinics offer packages for expats and tourist wishing to remodel themselves a bit. Most Lebanese banks also offer loans for cosmetic surgery.
Most modern medicines are available at pharmacies at a very affordable price, especially compared to the prices in the U.S and Europe. Pharmacies can be found all over Lebanon and many of them have generous opening hours and experienced staff that speaks English.
In Lebanon it is not unusual to ask your pharmacist instead of doctor for advice if you have a minor condition and let him/her recommend a medicine. However, most pharmacies demand a prescription from a certified doctor for more “serious” drugs so don’t forget to bring your prescriptions. Every neighborhood hosts plenty of pharmacies and with their green neon cross sign they are easy to spot.
Complicated medical services at hospitals can be expensive (though it is still much cheaper than places like the U.S). The prices differ from hospital to hospital and it doesn’t always have to be expensive.
Public hospitals are usually much cheaper than private hospitals affiliated with a university. In addition, most insurance companies and hospitals offer “A, B, and C categories” for in-hospital treatment.
Some hospitals also offer the “Lux” category as an option for those who wish to spend their sick time in a suite instead of a normal room.
American University of Beirut Medical Center
Location: Cairo Street, Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon
Tel: 00961-1-374374 or 00961-1-350000
Hotel Dieu Hospital:
Location: Address: Adib Ishak Street, Achrafieh, Beirut
Tel: (961) 1-615300;01-615400
Saint. George Hospital:
Location: Youssef Sursock street, Achrafieh, Beirut
Tel: (961) 1-585 700; 01-581 700; 01-525 700
Location: Monla Street, Tripoli
Tel: (961) 6 - 207 000
Hammoud Hospital University Medical Center
Location: Dr Ghassan Hammoud Streeet, Saida
Tel: (961) 7-723 111
By Helena Forsell, a 30 something who left her native Sweden for Lebanon 6 years ago. Now she is reinventing life in Beirut.