Healthcare in Buenos Aires

How to find a General Practitioner, doctor, physician in Buenos Aires

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Argentina offers both a public and private health care system. About 28 million Argentineans have health insurance through their unions and go to clinics called obras sociales for medical care. About 5 million people from the middle and upper classes are privately insured. Some large private health insurance companies have their own hospitals.

Those without health insurance go to public hospitals when they need treatment. These hospitals are equipped to handle emergencies and have the facilities for all forms of treatment. Acceptable medical and dental care is available in Buenos Aires.  Physicians, dentists, clinics and hospitals usually expect immediate cash deposits to perform health services. Check to make sure your medical coverage is valid in Argentina before you leave your home country. Travel insurance which covers overseas medical care including medical evacuation coverage is highly recommended.

The current size of the health work force cannot be determined accurately because no comprehensive studies have been done since 1980. That year, the health sector employed some 210,000 persons, equivalent to approximately 2.9% of the national work force. The training of health human resources exhibits is heavily influenced by the medical model.. There are seven public and seven private medical schools, which together form the Argentine Association of Schools of Medical Sciences (AFACIMERA). The country has two other private medical schools that are not members of the association. Universities train some 3,500 physicians each year.

Generic drugs are only given on doctor's prescription. The costs of medication vary depending on whether you are insured. If you have international insurance from your home country, check which rules apply. If you are enrolled in the social health care in Argentina ( Obras Sociales) 70% of the costs of medicines for chronic diseases are covered.

The medications and conditions which qualify for 70% coverage are:

  • Cardiovascular diseases and medication for prevention
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Neurological diseases
  • Psychiatric diseases
  • Arthritis
  • Glaucoma
  • Endocrine diseases

Some medications and treatments qualify for 100% coverage. This medication includes:

  • Medication for treatment of leprosy
  • Medication used in oncology
  • Medication for tuberculoses
  • Insulin for diabetes treatment
  • Contraceptive medication

If you depend on a certain medication, make sure to know the scientific name and/or take packages with you. The Argentinean Ministry of Health requires that all medication is prescribed using the generic name of the drug or the common international name. Brand names must also be listed on the prescription. If the medication is prescribed by a generic name the pharmacist must inform the customer about different options of the same medication. The pharmacist is also required to inform patients about the active ingredients and the combination of medication.

Update 29/05/2009


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With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Buenos Aires is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Argentina. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover! works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.

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