Healthcare System for Expatriates in Peru
No matter how long you wish to live in Peru, understanding its healthcare system is important. There is no doubt that you can enjoy medical-related benefits in Peru even as an expat. Detailed research will help you know the ways and steps you need to take to access quality healthcare in your chosen Peruvian destination. You may also have to purchase a good international health insurance policy to get coverage for various medical eventualities while living in Peru.
Overview of Healthcare System in Peru
Peru’s healthcare system is broadly divided into two — public and private sector. Peruvian public hospitals, polyclinics, and medical centers are supported by the Ministry of Health and Social Security. Private sector healthcare in Peru includes various hospitals and clinics operated by medical professionals, clinics, pharmacies, and labs. Fees are charged for treatments in both the public and private hospitals.
If you are relocating to Peru any time soon, ideally, you should go for a private global health insurance policy that would meet your personal and family needs. Unfortunately, Peru’s public healthcare system is poorly funded and many facilities there may not be able to adequately treat expatriates, who may want to seek care outside Peru.
The primary reason being that a lot of Peruvians don’t have sufficient income to pay for adequate healthcare and the government simply doesn’t have the financial resources required. The health insurance system in the country is expensive, but quality standards are very high in many Peruvian private hospitals and clinics, especially in major cities such as Lima and Arequipa.
105 is the emergency number across the country and you can connect directly for ambulance, fire, and police assistance through this number. Getting medications over the counter is easy as there are numerous pharmacies scattered across the cities. Ideally, you should carry a copy of your medicine prescription in case you have irregular health issues. You should be able to procure medicines that are equivalent to the medicines used in your home country. Compared to care in the USA, the costs of medical care are quite low in Peru.
Fix an appointment with a general practitioner in your native country and get the required vaccinations before you move to Peru. For foreign nationals, WHO has made it mandatory to get vaccinated for certain illnesses including hepatitis A & B, typhoid, yellow fever, and rabies before you set foot in Peru.
How the Peru Healthcare System Works for Expats?
Most expats prefer to opt for private healthcare facilities because public medical facilities are very scarce. Some cities do have decent public health facilities, but the ones in rural areas lack adequate medical systems or setups. Learn more about health information recommendations for expats and travelers to Peru from the CDC.
Public Peru healthcare system is too poor as compared to its North American counterparts. People often have to wait for months to get an appointment in a public hospital. Even for minor health issues, the waiting period is quite lengthy.
It is a bitter fact that you can’t expect even basic healthcare in rural areas. Under-staffed and under-resourced clinics located in the outskirts are not the places you would like to visit during an emergency.
Private Healthcare in Peru
In Peru, you can find adequate private healthcare facilities in the cities of Lima and Cusco, and they are the most preferred options for expatriates. As an expat, you should have private health insurance to enjoy various services at the private medical facilities. If you are on a job assignment, you should check with your employer to ensure that your relocation package includes health insurance too.
Even though private medical care is affordable in this region, you may have to pay upfront in cash when you visit a doctor, regardless of the treatments you are looking for. So, confirm this in advance before you book a doctor’s visit.
Public Healthcare in Peru
In Peru, there are two kinds of social insurances to choose from — Seguro Integral de Salud (SIS) and EsSalud. SIS is authorized via the Ministry of Health and is designed to assist people with a low income and those who don’t have foreign health insurance. EsSalud, on the other hand, is funded by employers who pay 9% of an employee’s remuneration or salary as insurance. This social insurance is mandatory for private as well as public sector staff, independent workers, students, minor descendants who are not older than 18 years, and retirees.
Key Medical Information for Expats in Peru:
- Serious illness or emergency will require medical evacuation out of the country
- Medical equipment can be limited outside Lima
- Large pharmacies in Lima are generally well supplied. Many major supermarkets include some excellent pharmacies
- Blood transfusions are not safe
- Outside of Lima, the medical staff training can be limited and medical facilities may be short of staff
- Hygiene standards at medical facilities outside of Lima can be unreliable
Best Private International Medical Insurance for Expats in Peru
Employers must take care of various formalities related to their workers’ contributions toward health insurance. So, social insurance registration is a must for every new employee. If you are on a job contract with an international organization in Peru, you may be able to obtain international health insurance. Check out the healthcare providers and clinics that accept the insurance plan offered to you by your employer. In case they don’t, you will have to pay upfront for any treatment and get them reimbursed later after submitting a claim.
For expats who are not employed in a Peruvian company or who don’t have an international health plan, Cigna Global Health Options plan can be a great option. You can also choose the Allianz South American health plan to ensure that you are sufficiently covered during your expatriation in Peru.
Learn about top 5 countries to retire in South America.