Traveler's Insurance/ Health Insurance


Nov 6, 2009
Hey everyone, I'm looking for some advice concerning traveler's insurance! My gf and I are traveling to Buenos Aires at the end of December to get our TEFL certificates , and then will continue on to teach English. We will be in BA for apprx 6-12 months. We purchased our plane tickets through a student travel agency and were posed with the question of whether or not to purchase Traveler's Insurance, up to 7 months is 470$ , and increases from there. Obviously the travel agency recommends getting traveler's insurance for flight related issues, cancellations, etc as well as covering emergency medical care, loose a limb, etc etc. Due to a tight budget, we can't decide if we should purchase the traveler's insurance, or to just get some sort of health insurance once we are in BA. I do not know very much about health insurance in BA for expats either, so looking for some insight/advice/guidance there!

Thanks very much!
How does the health insurance plan you mention work? DO you have to pay first for treatment and then get reimbursed? What exactly will it pay for? Hard to give you an answer w/o details. I don't know how easy or difficult it will be to get insurance here. Of course public hospitals are free. The Fernandez Hospital is not bad.
I really don't know about another health insurance we would get. I'd have to do more research into that, and I guess Im asking if you actually need health insurance to visit a doctor in BA. As an American, I get very confused and worried when it comes to health insurance issues!

I believe the emergency medical insurance will reimburse me for prescriptions associated with an emergency medical issue, but would not cover anything like a physical or general check up. But for the emergencies, I believe it does cover anything upfront.
Is that $470 per person? For 7 months? Is it a local plan, if so, which one? What hospitals can you go to with the plan?

Public hospitals are free here. You can also purchase private health insurance for roughly 100 USD per month per person.
PS - it's very easy to get private health insurance here. There are multiple options including OSDE (usually considered the best), Swiss Medical, Medicus, etc. You can also purchase coverage at a specific hospital (Aleman for example). I have Swiss Medical, I pay 6 months at a time (required if you are a foreigner) and it is as I mentioned, approximately 100 USD per month.
Does It take a very long time to acquire health insurance as a foreigner? Do you know if it would cover major expenses/ emergencies, etc?
I got a plan at Hospital Aleman with just my passport in less than an hour, almost two years ago. It was a very easy process and the woman who helped us get going, although she didn't speak English, was very nice and helpful. The guy we ended up doing all the paperwork with spoke some English and was also nice and helpfull.

I know other expats who have almost no Spanish who have never had a problem finding hospital personnel who speak English to help them.

I'm sure you would have pretty much the same experience at OSDE or Swiss Medical, or any of the other major companies.
Health care is a breeze here compared to the US!

Keep in mind:
1) As discussed, public hospitals are free (yes, even for tourists). Many expats don't get health insurance at all when they are here and just pay out of pocket for meds or go to a public hospital. Acute care is in fact very good in the public hospitals although I personally wouldn't want to be there for rehabilitative or on-going care.

2) You are covered immediately with private health insurance. As ElQueso said, the process takes about an hour. There is a waiting period of 1 year for maternity to be covered on my plan but everything else was covered.

3) You can either purchase through a company (OSDE, Galeno, Swiss Medical, Medicus) which allows you to use their hospitals/clinics/approved doctors or you can purchase directly from a hospital (Aleman, etc) which requires that you go to that hospital or their affiliated clinics.

4) If you are going to be traveling throughout Argentina, I would recommend a company but if you're going to be solely in BsAs, the hospital option is a good one.

5) If you purchase private, you simply show your card when you go to the clinic. No paperwork, no co-pays - it is remarkably easy.

I am a huge fan of the healthcare system here - the care is good, the ease of using it is amazing to me (coming from the US) and it is very comprehensive in what it covers.
thank you thank you thank you... this has been VERY helpful. we will be there for 6-10 months so I wasn't even sure if we should get health insurance, but Ive been panicking over what to do! Thanks :)