Healthcare in Chile



Chile is one of the best expat destinations in the world, not only for its beautiful landscapes, but also for the low cost living and good quality of life. Part of the package is the remarkably cheap cost of health care.

Based on a 2009 survey by the International Civil Service Commission in Chile, an individual spends roughly $244 USD in a month for health care, half of the price an expat would spend in his home country for the same quality of service.

Health Policies

Chile's exemplary health care quality and the cost is credited to its government. Effective policies are in place to ensure that the residents of the country receive the best health care at the lowest possible cost. 

Since the year 2000 there have been four significant bills passed that have greatly improved health care in Chile: the Health Authority and Management Law, which separates the sectors that regulate health care and those that provide it; the Financing Government Expenditure Law, which allows the government to secure additional revenue to finance health reform; the Private Health Law which allows for improvements in the regulations of the private sector; and the Regime of Explicit Guarantees in Health Law, which provides for a universal health plan. 

The implementation of these health policies is handled by The Chilean Ministry of Health and the National Health Fund. The first manages public health interventions and the personnel of public health facilities, while the latter manages public health insurance

Services are provided to the public primarily through regional health centres. Complex medical needs are provided by the city public and private hospitals. 

Medical Insurance 

In Chile, 68% of the population is covered by the government's health care system, while 14% is insured through the private sector. Government policies allow for the direct deduction of premiums through an employee's salary. ‚Ä®For expats who already have medical insurance through their employers abroad, you may want to check your coverage before moving. It is also best to have cash on hand as hospitals, more often than not, need payment upfront, and do not always accept credit card payments. The private sector also offers affordable coverage (called ISAPRES).

In order to purchase or sign up for health coverage, an expat should first have an RUT (Rol Unico Tributario) or a Tax Identification Number, which you can acquire from the government for minimal cost, and preferably a credit card, as some insurance companies do not accept cash or debits cards.


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Overall Health Security

As health care is mostly subsidised and regulated by government laws, almost 66% of doctors in Chile work in government hospitals. As part of the Chilean mandate, these doctors are required to acquire continuing education in their fields of specialisation. Thus the public and private sectors are ensured exemplary and advanced health care from the country's health professionals. 

Tap water is safe in Chile. In fact, according to a study by UNICEF, about 95% of the Chilean population has access to safe drinking water. This ensures that you can scratch mineral water from your grocery list - one less expense to worry about. 

Vaccinations are not required to enter Chile, but consult a doctor for the best vaccines based on your needs, as well as your place of work or residence. 

If health care cost and quality are one of the deciding factors for you to move, then pack your bags and take the next flight to Chile. 



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