Robust public and private providers are available in Chile to cater to the healthcare needs of the local population and, more importantly for you, foreigners and expat residents alike. The World Health Organisation health system rankings placed Chile’s national standards of care at 33 out of 190 countries: the highest rated Latin American country, and five places ahead of the United States.
Whilst geographically, health facilities can vary, with remote areas understandably less well served than urban and developed ones, the country as a whole enjoys one of its greatest civic assets in its health systems. Santiago in particular has the best medical care in the country at several institutions, but costs can be higher as a result.
Public and private care
Chile’s public healthcare operates as the FONASA (Fondo Nacional de Salud), which is a national health insurance scheme funded by the mandatory taxation of income. The scheme allows for care at public hospitals and the option of subsidized rates at certain affiliated private clinics.
Chile’s private sector is made up of insurance providers known as ISAPRE (Instituciones de Salud Previsional) whose various care plans will dictate which clinics and doctors you will be referred to if available.
The quality of services provided is normally better at ISAPRE clinics than public hospitals, but this varies by clinic. The specific insurance provided will depend primarily on income, age, sex, existing conditions and family medical background, amongst others factors. Compared to a system like the USA’s, Chile’s private sector is relatively affordable for the quality of care, and maintains national standards that compare very favourably with other developed nations.