The HealthCare system in Argentina

Argentina’s health care system is composed of three sectors: the public sector, financed through taxes; the private sector, financed through voluntary insurance schemes; and the social security sector, financed through obligatory insurance schemes. The Ministry of Health and Social Action (MSAS), oversees all three subsectors of the health care system and is responsible for setting of regulation, evaluation and collecting statistics.

The social security sector is funded and managed by Obras Sociales, umbrella organizations for Argentine worker’s unions. There are over 300 Obras Sociales in Argentina, organized according to the occupation of the beneficiary. These organizations vary greatly in quality and effectiveness.

The private health care sector in Argentina is characterized by great heterogeneity and is made up of a great number of fragmented facilities and small networks. It consists of over 200 organizations. Private insurance, also known as prepaid medicine, often overlaps with other forms of health care coverage.

The public system is open and free. Its organization is highly decentralized to the provincial level; often primary care is even under the purview of local townships. Generally, the public system is used by the citizens as a last resource, as the service level and availability of resources (from syringes to heating in medical facilities) are deficient and waiting times for an appointment can be of up to several months. With that said, there is great variability within the system and there are also cases in which the service and patient experience is exceptional.

48% Argentinians are covered under the social security (obras sociales) scheme, 9% are subscribed to private insurance services, 4% are beneficiaries both of private health insurance and social security, and 38% don’t count on any formal health insurance system, using the public free healthcare services.

Last update: October 2013

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