Health care & insurance basics

delfshunter

Registered
Hello. As prospective new residents in Argentina, we would like to know the basic picture on health care and insurance coverage. What's the cost of seeing a good doctor without insurance, roughly, on average? What's the high-end risk for hospitalization costs in case of serious injury or illness? What kind of health insurance plans could we get there, for how much, and are any of them worth it?

A very broad question, we admit, but we would welcome any information on any part of it.

Thanks,

Mary & Chuck
 

syngirl

Registered
It's hard to give an idea without knowing what kind of doctors you need, and doctors charge a range of prices. And if you need ones that speak english, they are probably going to end up more expensive... at least that seems to be the way it is. I've got insurance so haven't really delved too far into it, but from my few experiences:

I called some gynecologists that were off-plan -- they wanted between 280 - 350 pesos for a consult.

Orthopedics I paid 100 pesos a consult.

Hospital Trinidad for a few stitches wanted 180 pesos just to see me, then the price of whatever materials they might need for sewing me up (4 stitches) -- I said no thanks, just tell me where the nearest place is that's on my plan -- it was only a 12 peso cab to get there.
 

gouchobob

Registered
Your questions are to broad to be answered unless there is somebody that actually works in the industry here. Health insurance providing good coverage is available. What you pay depends on your age, the older you are the more it costs.
 

syngirl

Registered
OSDE = 350 pesos approx for under 36; 500 something for + 36; and as mentioned on the forum if you're already over the age of 64 you won't be eligible.

Most plans are around the same price and be aware that they jack their rates by about 12-17% every 4 months or so (ie I started paying less than 150 pesos I believe it was, 3 years later and still in the same age category and I'm paying 350).

Oh sorry -- and I should mention that private insrance covers a generous percentage of meds -- if you need regular prescriptions, buying without a plan can get pretty expensive.
 

SaraSara

Registered
The best plan is OSDE - about a thousand pesos a month for top coverage.

All plans cover hospitalization, tests, surgery, and office visits. Also discount medicines.

The excellent Hospital Italiano is the only one offering coverage for senior citizens, 60 to 80 years old - starts at around $600 - pesos, that is...!

Doctors' office visit - in pesos:
Top specialist in its field: $500
Very good specialist: $300
Average specialist: $150

Hope this helps
 

ElQueso

Registered
To give an idea of hospitialization costs - a good friend of my wife's went to Hospital Aleman a little over a year ago to have her baby. Her husband insisted that she get the best care. She was given a private room for two days. The total cost was $9,000 pesos, which at the time was about $3,000 dollars.

I would expect that cost to have risen since then, maybe as much as 30%?

I'm sure for a more common delivery experience the price would ahve been significantly lower.

Insurance here is cheap enough that I would not consider living here without it unless you are reasonably welathy and can afford whatever is thrown at you in life.

I don't agree that OSDE is necessarily the "best" because of the cost - it is certainly good insurance and the network has very good doctors, no doubt.

Hospital Aleman is a good hospital and has good doctors as well. I pay $550 pesos a month for two of us. HA is certainly competent for about anything that you would need done, in my opinion.

It all depends on how much you want/can afford to pay.

Just do not, ever, depend on public hospitals.
 

SaraSara

Registered
The Hospital Aleman is very good - my daughter used to belong to their plan. Then they started raising their rates, and she switched to the Italiano. She says both are about the same.

The reason I said OSDE was best is because A) It has a very large number of physicians in its rooster, and B) It is an "open" plan; that is, the patient chooses the hospital.

The Hospital Aleman and the Italiano are closed plans - they have clinics all over BA, but patients must go to the main hospital for surgery, etc.

Public hospitals are manned by excellent physicians, but the facilities are poor, with the exception of the Hosp. Fernandez and the Clinicas. However, often a public hospital's diagnosis is better because doctors can spend more time with each patient, and are free to request expensive tests that private medical plans would not authorize. My niece is a physical therapist; in the Hospital Durand she can work on a patient for forty-five minutes. In the private hospital she works, she can allot each patient seven minutes, and after that must move them to exercise machines or such.

A friend had a small breast lump, but her medical insurance's gynecologists kept dismissing it as nothing. She tried several different doctors in her plan, but they all said it was nothing. When the lump was the size of a tangerine they finally authorized a biopsy, and a mastectomy, but she was dead in less than a year. This would have never happened had she gone to a public hospital.

My father was a top-notch orthopaedic surgeon - all his life he worked at a public hospital in the morning, and at a private one in the afternoon. There are many doctors who still do that.

So, don't dismiss public hospitals - despite severe underfunding, they do a very good job at diagnosis and surgery.
 

orwellian

Registered
ElQueso said:
To give an idea of hospitialization costs - a good friend of my wife's went to Hospital Aleman a little over a year ago to have her baby. Her husband insisted that she get the best care. She was given a private room for two days. The total cost was $9,000 pesos, which at the time was about $3,000 dollars.
I just paid 2500 euros for that. So it hasn't changed much.
 

hshanks

Registered
I use Swissmedical, the highest plan, and it costs 614 pesos (I'm 26). It covers all out of country medical expenses (US$ 100 deductible) so when I had to go to the hospital in Peru for four days I had a private room and surgeon, etc, and paid 100 bucks. It also covered free LASIK after a year of being on the plan, doctor visits are free, free pair of glasses each year, discount on contacts, and 40% discount on medications.
 

jp

Registered
SaraSara said:
So, don't dismiss public hospitals - despite severe underfunding, they do a very good job at diagnosis and surgery.
Really sorry to hear about your friend Sara.

I've met a number of doctors & medical students who've spent time working & studying here in public hospitals. They all said the same thing about their argentine colleagues - diagnosis was exceptional, and the level of training & expertise was outstanding. They spent more time with their patients and were able to "read" patients in a way that first world doctors struggled to.

But part of the reason they developed these skills was the lack of expensive diagnostic equipment, which forced them to rely on training and intuition.

I'm not sure whats best. When I first got here I was really impressed by how thorough private medicine was. But several months on, I sort of feel I'm doing the rounds a bit... Endless consults and diagnostics make a lot more money than someone taking an interest in the patient and trying to fix the problem.
 
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