This will just be a short post because I get asked this from time to time: What to do about health insurance as a foreigner in Argentina? Argentina has a decent public health system compared to many Latin American countries, but many foreigners opt for a private pre-paid health insurance, often referred to as medicina pre-paga or medicina privada. Note that it is very easy to sign up, even tourists with just a passport can join an insurance plan. If you don’t have a bank account here to do an automatic transfer, some companies accept cash payments while with others you use RapiPago or PagoFacil, where you go to a kiosk or other provider and pay in cash through these payment systems. Of course, if you work here, you will most likely have some coverage through your job, so this post really applies to freelancers and others who need to take care of their own health insurance.
First of all: Do you need to get private insurance? If you are here for less than three months and have travel insurance, you don’t – you’ll be covered by that. Some travel insurance plans are longer term and cover trips up to a year. If you are traveling for a short time without travel insurance, you have two options if you need medical help: going to the public hospitals, or paying out of pocket for private. Public can be totally fine, but many chose to go private because it is easier and usually quicker. Also, this is not the USA: the prices are much more affordable and you are unlikely to end up with a huge medical debt. The facilities and the professionals are usually excellent.
If you are living here medium to long term, the considerations are really the same: pay for insurance, go public, or pay for private health care if you need it? Personally, I would feel a little guilty taking advantage of the public health system when there are so many people in great need. If you are young and healthy, maybe you are fine without insurance, as long as you have some money to pay for health care when you need it. I have opted for private insurance as it seems like the safest and most responsible thing to do.
Second: What plan to get? There are many different companies who offer medical insurance. As a foreigner, one of the best option is the plan offered through Medicus and Expat Connection. Check it our here: Local insurance for expats. They have three levels, with the main difference being the providers – in the most economical plan you can only use Medicus’ own facilities. The prices are great because it basically acts as a pool, something you don’t get when you sign up as an individual.
The company considered to be the best is OSDE, but it is also usually the most expensive for individual plans. I opted for Swiss Medical based on recommendations and the pricing. (With the inflation it goes up quite a bit every month but hey, it’s my health!)