THE CHILEAN HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
Chile has one of the best healthcare systems in Latin America, the 33rd out of 190 according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Health infrastructures are of a very good standard throughout the country, especially in Santiago.
If you work on a local contract, then you are required to register for a health plan, which can be either public or private. Both systems have emergency services available in case of a major problem. The private sector has a reputation for being of better quality.
The public system
The Chilean public health system is called FONASA (“Fondo Nacional de Salud”). This is financed by a mandatory contribution of 7% on salaries. Those who have chosen this system will be able to access public hospitals, as well as benefit from preferential rates on several affiliated clinics.
The private system
Expatriates who do not work on a local contract do not have access to the public health system. The choice of the private system is therefore essential. However, most expatriates choose this system, even if they are eligible for the public health system, because it is of much better quality.
The private health system is composed of health insurance, and is called ISAPRES (“Instituciones de Salud Previsional”). There are 13 ISAPRES in all, which give you access to most clinics in the country.
The amount you will pay if you decide to choose this type of system will depend on your income, age, gender, medical history, and current health status. The sum may exceed 7% of your salary, but it is generally lower, especially if you earn a high salary.