An expat guide to healthcare and health insurance in Argentina
Are you researching an expat health insurance for Argentina? It is important to inform yourself on the local healthcare system first.
Whether you are moving to Argentina or you are already living there as an expat, read our guide on the Argentinian healthcare system and your different options of medical insurance for Argentina.
- Total population (2017) : 44.3 million
- Gross national income per capita (PPP international $, 2017): 20,270
- Life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2016): 74/80
- Probability of dying between 15 and 60 years m/f (per 1 000 population, 2016): 143/80
- Total expenditure on health per capita (Intl $, 2014): 1,137
- Total expenditure on health as % of GDP (2014): 4.8
Healthcare in Argentina for expats
The National Health Insurance Administration (La Administración Nacional del Seguro de Salud) offers cover for health, pensions/retirement, disability, death (for relatives) and unemployment benefits. Accidents at work and occupational diseases are managed by the superintendencia de riesgos del trabajo (SRT).
Argentina is a federal republic and the health system is decentralized, meaning public health is administered at a municipal level. Primary health care is often independently managed by each city.
There are three sectors of health care in Argentina:
- The public sector: Provides free or highly subsidised health services to around 50% of people in Argentina, including both nationals and foreigners. Medical, hospital, dental and palliative care, rehabilitation, prosthetics and medical transport are free of charge. The only charges are for prescriptions, and pharmacies require prescriptions for most medication. There is a 30% cost participation for chronic conditions, and a 60% cost participation for everyday prescriptions. However, long waiting lists mean that a large percentage of Argentina’s population chooses other sectors for their health care.
- Social security (obras sociales – OS): Financed by fixed fee contributions from employers and employees, these health insurance schemes are managed by trade unions and are the most common form of health insurance in the country. The schemes are overseen by the national health insurance administration, but health care is outsourced to private providers. Obras sociales schemes must guarantee minimum medical coverage such as preventative, diagnostic, medical and dental treatment, maternity, etc. The patient covers the difference in cost between the fixed fee and the cost of treatment. Additionally, and importantly, OS schemes cannot exclude pre-existing medical conditions.
- Private sector: These are like classic private insurance policies which anyone can choose to subscribe to. Around 5% of the population opts for private health insurance. Private insurance must cover the same mandatory benefits as the OS.
To note: General practitioners practice in public hospitals, so there are no public GP offices or centres in Argentina. To consult in a practice, patients must make an appointment with a private physician.
Quality of health care
Health services in Argentina are considered among the best in Latin America. In Buenos Aires and other major cities like Córdoba or Mendoza, hospitals and clinics are of an excellent standard with competent medical staff. However, elsewhere in the country, especially in the poorer north, the quality of care may vary and some facilities may lack medical equipment or staff.
Private health insurance in Argentina
Although the public health system is free and of good quality, waiting lists for appointments and treatment can be long in the public sector. For this reason, many expatriates choose private health insurance.
Argentinian health insurance is very localised, meaning that a local insurance policy may not be valid in other countries and even other cities of Argentina. Therefore, international insurance is usually better suited to an expatriate rather than a local insurance.
If you are travelling in remote areas, it is highly recommended to have health insurance including evacuation, as some regions may be very far from the nearest hospital. In the event of an accident, the evacuation assistance will take care of transportation to a health care facility able to treat you.
International health insurance for expats in Argentina
An international health insurance for Argentina is often a better option for expats than a local health plan. It allows you to be treated in the hospital of your choice or with the doctors of your choice, in Argentina or abroad. This is often the best option for people preferring to seek treatment in the private sector, whether in Argentina, their country of origin or another country.
If you would like wider financial protection in the event of stopping work due to an accident or disabling illness, Expat Assure can also advise you on expat life insurance for Argentina and income protection. To find out more, please, read our page on income protection and life insurance for expatriates.
What is the best health insurance for expats in Argentina?
The best health insurance in Argentina for another expat might not be the best for you as everyone has different needs and expectations.
In order to find which one is the best health insurance in Argentina for you, it is important to consider several aspects such as your medical history, your age, your specific needs in terms of medical cover, your situation in Argentina, alongside other parameters.
How much does healthcare cost in Argentina?
Private medical rates vary by region, and are generally more expensive in urban areas than in rural areas. Many doctors are regularly increasing their fees due to the current high levels of inflation in Argentina. Here is an overview of private medical tariffs for the Buenos Aires region (some doctors adapt or decrease their tariffs depending on a patient’s income):
Appointment with a general practitioner: Around 500 Argentine pesos (£10 /$13)
Appointment with a specialist: Around 500 – 600 pesos (£10 – £12.6 /$13 – $16)
Appointment with a dentist: Around 500 pesos for a consultation (£10 GBP/$13), and the cost of a pivot and crown may fall between 6500 and 9000 pesos (£136 – £190 GBP/€170 to €240)
Such as with any type of health insurance, the price of a medical insurance for expats in Argentina varies greatly depending on the personal situation, the age, the medical history of each individual as well as other parameters. If you would like to have an idea of the cost of private health insurance for Argentina, we can prepare for you a personalised comparison of different international health insurance plans. Contact us today for your free health insurance comparison.
Such as with any type of health insurance, the price of a medical insurance for expats in Argentina varies greatly depending on the personal situation, the age, the medical history of each individual as well as other parameters.
If you would like to have an idea of the cost of private health insurance for Argentina, we can prepare for you a personalised comparison of different international health insurance plans. Contact us today for your free health insurance comparison.
No specific vaccinations are required to enter Argentina, but it is recommended to be up to date with your vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus and polio. A vaccination against yellow fever is recommended in some areas and vaccinations against rabies and typhoid may be advised depending on the nature of your stay.
Police in Buenos Aires: 911
Emergency number for tourists: 0800 999 5000
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