South American Healthcare System and Insurance Options For Expats

The South American region hosts a multitude of different countries, each of which has a distinct healthcare system. It’s also the one continent where healthcare services are much cheaper than anywhere else in the world. The availability of universal public healthcare in all major countries in the continent, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, and more, make it a lucrative destination to avail healthcare services. But is it worth purchasing international insurance coverage for expats moving to South America?

For expatriates in South America, it’s not easy to avail medical assistance like the local people. International insurance coverage can help bridge that gap and get them access to the best medical assistance according to their selected plan. You can check for insurance companies that offer international insurance coverage plans in your home country or the country of residence before actually making the move.

It’s also quite common to get confused between travel medical insurance and expat insurance. While the former only provides cover for unexpected travel-related medical incidents, expat insurance covers worldwide coverage, including preventive care, maternity care, and much more. Also, as long as you remain an expat, most providers can cover you for life. For travel insurance, you are only covered for the trip dates you purchase and only while outside your country of residence as per plan terms.

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Healthcare Systems in Various Major South American Countries for Expatriates

BoliviaPeruColombiaBrazilVenezuela –  ArgentinaGuyanaUruguay  – ChileAruba

Understanding the Healthcare System – Information for Expatriates in South America

It is important to note that not all medical facilities in South America are as good as those available in the United States or European nations, with the effective gap further widening for facilities based in rural South American areas. Furthermore, it is imperative to learn about the best regional centers offering excellent care and services and your proximity to them. According to a report by the World Health Organization that measured the health system performance of 191 countries, Columbia, one of the countries in South America, was ranked at 22, which is better than major affluent countries like Canada (30) and United States of America (37). This is significant as it shows just how good the healthcare system in South America already is, and it’s only getting better by the day.

Emergency Assistance in South America

If you are moving to a city in South America, it should not be difficult for you to avail of good medical assistance when needed. Several of these hospitals offer medical assistance under major international insurance coverage plans, so you must look for the ones that can suit your needs.

In the case of a serious ailment or an accident, you should contact the nearest hospital immediately. Depending upon where you are located in South America, you can call up the following numbers:

  • Argentina:    107
  • Brazil:            192
  • Chile:             131
  • Columbia:     112 (landline) or 123 (cell phone)
  • Ecuador:       911
  • Peru:             106
  • Uruguay:       911
  • Venezuela:   171

For those who would like to know about a few prominent hospitals across all major countries in South America, here’s an introductory list.

An international health insurance plan helps you save a lot since any kind of serious treatment can incur a significant burden on your pocket. Sometimes you can just speak with the insurance company, which will then pay the bills of the hospital. In case that is not possible, you can make the payment on your own, obtain the bill for it, carry it back to your country, and then make the claim from over there.

 Top Benefits of a Good Healthcare Plan for Expats in South America:

  • Option to choose a healthcare plan as per your need
  • Global access to better facilities and treatment in a foreign country
  • Reduced waiting time
  • The reduced financial burden of paying for treating several critical and non-critical medical conditions

Health Insurance for International Citizens in South America

For some South American countries like Ecuador, you must have comprehensive international insurance coverage handy. This is useful too since you won’t feel burdened at all by an unexpected ailment or serious medical emergency that can lead to a hefty bill. You can always look through the available plans before settling on the one that exactly suits your needs.

With good international insurance coverage, you should be able to avail good healthcare facilities across almost the whole of South America. You must choose the best international health insurance policies to suit your individual needs. For instance, a comprehensive Cigna Global Health Options plan can offer a customized insurance cover to expats for life. You may also opt for Allianz South American health plan, which provides some excellent cover for expatriates and even some local nationals in South America.

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