Public vs private health care in Peru

How each systems works

Public vs private health care in Peru

There is both public and private health care available in Peru. Expats moving to Peru are usually advised to use private medical clinics, as they are more reliable and efficient than the public health services.  

Public health care

There are two types of national insurance within the public sector: SIS (Seguro Integral de Salud ) provided by the Ministry of Health  (MINSA) and EsSalud, which is obtained through employment.

MINSA has authorised certain hospitals to provide health services to uninsured people, in return for a variable fee depending on the hospital or via the SIS. A downside to these plans is the usually very long waiting times.

SIS helps people without health insurance and citizens living in high levels of poverty in rural and urban regions. The recipients of SIS (18% of the population) are normally pregnant women and men over 17 years old, who live in conditions of extreme poverty. Obtaining SIS insurance is dependent on an individual’s or family’s economic level. SIS is primarily financed by general budget resources and only 6% is funded by contributions, donations, individuals and aid agencies.

EsSalud  provides health insurance to the employed population and their families. The plan mainly covers urban areas and is provisioned in national hospitals and facilities. EsSalud is funded by employer contributions that equal 9% of active employees’ salaries.

Retirees are supported by contributions from insured people, at 4% of insurable earnings. Approximately 20% of the population benefits from EsSalud.

Private health care in Peru

Private health care is preferred by people who can afford it, as public health institutions are incapable of providing a service for everyone in need, due to the lack of financial resources. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has ranked Peru as having one of the least adequately financed health care systems in the world. This is a result of generally low earnings in the country, hence the incapability to pay the high benefit costs.

Hospitals in Peru have good standards and the larger cities have multiple private health clinics. For people considering a move to Peru, it is highly recommended that you carefully choose private health care insurance. Make sure you know exactly what the policy covers, as often serious illnesses, rare diseases and high cost treatments may not be included.  

Further reading

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