The health system in Argentina

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Updated 2021-01-08 13:50

Healthcare in Argentina is often very good quality and is considered among the best in Latin America. However, the level of care often depends on the social protection system you are covered by.

The Argentine healthcare system is divided into three different sectors: the public sector, the private sector and the social security sector, which is operated by several health funds for employees. Foreigners in Argentina may, in some cases, register with one of these systems. Below is more information on each one.

The public sector

In general, the public sector is available to all. A system of public medical facilities is maintained by the government, with free care provided in accredited hospitals. However, waiting times for care, treatment, or surgery are rather long and the quality of treatment can be very random. Currently, about half of the population uses this system.

The private sector

The private sector consists of over 200 organisations and covers nearly two million Argentinians. It is operated through private insurers who generally provide good health care coverage. Private hospitals are often better equipped, and the level of care is often superior. You are also able to choose from a list of physicians. Any foreign consulate can provide a list of doctors in the area who speak English, or you can contact the Hospital Británico in Buenos Aires.

The social security sector

The Social Security Sector is funded and managed by Obras Sociales (Insurance Plans), which are umbrella organisations for the Argentine workers' unions. There are over 300 Obras Sociales in Argentina, and each one is organised according to the occupation of the beneficiary. These organisations vary greatly in quality and effectiveness.

If you suffer from a particular type of illness, be sure to consult your doctor prior to your departure. It's a good idea to bring a signed and dated note from your doctor that describes your medical conditions and medication required, and you ought to bring your medication in clearly labelled containers too. Most pharmacies in Argentina are well supplied and many drugs that usually require a prescription are available over the counter, so if you lose or run out of a particular medication, you might not need to schedule a doctor's appointment to get more. However, you should be aware that medication here is not cheap.

Getting health insurance in Argentina

Despite the fact Argentina's public healthcare system is accessible to everyone, you are advised to get health insurance before travelling, even if you intend to spend less than a year in the country.

There are many insurance companies to choose from, according to your needs and budget. Some of the leading health insurance providers are:

Consider having a look at their offers according to your needs and get a free quote on Expat.com's Health Insurance for expatriates in Argentina page.

If you are travelling in remote areas, it is highly recommended to pick a package that includes evacuation, as in some cases, you may be very far from the nearest hospital. In the event of an accident, the evacuation assistance will take care of your transport to a healthcare facility that is able to treat you.

If you need to go to the hospital for any reason, be sure to take your ID and ask for receipts or notes from the doctors, which you might need for your claim.

We hope you found this article useful! For more articles about expat life in Argentina, visit our website.

Useful links:

MEDEX Assistance
Travel Assistance International
ANSES (Administracion Nacional de la Seguridad Social)

Emergency numbers
Police: 101
Medical Emergencies: 107
Fire brigades: 100

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.