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Health insurance and healthcare in Argentina

  • We have been with Hospital Italiano since the beginning, however it is impossible to get regular checks because there are no spots available.

    I have a skin issue on my hands at the moment, and the first available date is on May 24, 2024. My dermatologist is no longer with HI, and she is also no longer attending at the private skin clinic that is near my house. I don't mind spending for a private consult if it means not waiting for 6 months, but at the same time I think it is pointless to have private healthcare if it means seeking care privately every single time.

    Are your insurances the same?

  • Our health insurance is with OSDE. We don't seem to have a problem getting appointments no matter what it is you want. The missus gasps every time they send a statement and she sees they've put up the price of the plan again.

    I can't say I'm a fan of private health care compared to the free NHS I used in the UK. The standards are good here however I know some shenanigans goes on.

  • serafina , what does HI charge for their insurance, and what if anything is not covered? (Other than prompt help when you need it)

    We have just paid 86k pesos for November for the both of us. We are in our 40s.

    The older you are, the higher the fee. An acquaintance of mine is over 70 and she pays 200k/month for herself alone!

    We have the basic coverage but the access to appointments is the same, regardless.

    It includes a few basic services, I can’t remember the details. I seem to recall that the GP is maybe unlimited or has a high number of visits per year (30?), 4 visits with the gynecologist, 2 with the ophthalmologist, and so on. Dermatology is not included.

    We have also hospitalization and urgent care included.

    Other specialties are co-paid and we can also access them also privately. This means that if I want to see a specialist, I can ask my GP to authorize it and I will have access to the co-pay price. Otherwise I will pay the full price. And I have up to 40% off meds, but this applies only to meds prescribed by doctors that work for Hospital Italiano and purchased from adhering pharmacies.

    For example, if I want to see a psychologist, but my GP doesn’t think I need one, I will pay the full price. Otherwise he will authorize a “derivation to psychology services” and I will get co-pay prices.

    I have a “derivation” for dermatology and I pay about 7k pesos per visit with dermatologist. Then any hands-on service, like day hospital surgery or tests, are paid.

    The point is that there are not enough appointments those services!

    The reason is that my insurance is also open to patients that are not insured by Hospital Italiano, so the demand is incredibly high and the service sucks as a result. I was never able to get proper dermatology care because of you need to see the same professional every 1-2 months, there are no appointments (the booking calendar is only open for a few months out, so you can’t book today appointments for the next 12 months).

    Some specialties are in demand, like dermatology, others not so much, like vaccination services (you can find one even on the same day!).

    My husband has a lot of moles and he needs to have them mapped every year to track how they change and see if any should be removed preventatively. It takes him 6 months to get a mapping appointment and then about 4-5 months to get an appointment with his dermatologist to read the result and evaluated which ones should be removed. Then it is about 3-4 months for a mole removal surgery. An all year affair! He is very pissed and keeps complaining with the hospital, but this how it is…

    Just to provide more examples… I get a yearly check up with a gynecologist, he does a pap-smear and the results are sent to the lab and they upload a report. Now, you have to read the results and you need another appointment with a gynecologist who will tell you if everything is good or if you need to run more tests. My gynecologist stopped working with hospital italiano, he was great because I could just send him a text through the hospital messaging system and he told me if it was all good or not. Since he left, I have been looking for another gynecologist as good (or just available) as him. I didn’t find one because the first available one doesn’t use the messaging system because she said there are just too many inquiries from patients and she is not getting paid for the time spent to read the messages. She told me to just book an appointment with the first available gynecologist.

    I went with another one and she said “all good, but since you are over 40 let’s do a mammography”. I did it (two days later, incredible!) but now I am back to square one because I need a gynecologist to read the results. So I just googled them because I think the results are normal and I don’t want to waste another 3 hours just to be told so (even if you have an appointment, they are always late and I have to sit in the waiting room for at least one hour).

    My current skin issue is very minor, just a dry patch that seems to be spreading, and I now have it on the other hand, too. I have been self-treating it with ointments/cream I have at home (a cortisone ointment, that didn’t work, and another one with salicylic acid which also doesn’t work).

  • Pretty sure our OSDE plan is in the region of 130000 a month. At least I think that's the figure the missus shouted out the other day. She's still in her kip at the moment so can't be sure. We're also covered with PAMI which is handy when it comes to prescription cost. The cost of my COPD medicine is 100% covered using PAMI whereas OSDE only pays a % of it.

  • serafina , what a frustrating situation! It sounds as if the problems with Hospital Italiano are growing rather than being resolved.

    Is there another hospital system that gives better care and better access to its medical providers? If so, what would be involved in switching? Would you have to pay more for joining in your 40’s instead of in your 30’s, as you did with HI?

  • serafina , what a frustrating situation! It sounds as if the problems with Hospital Italiano are growing rather than being resolved.

    Is there another hospital system that gives better care and better access to its medical providers? If so, what would be involved in switching? Would you have to pay more for joining in your 40’s instead of in your 30’s, as you did with HI?

    I am not entirely sure, Rice . When we first arrived, we applied with several insurances, but a couple declined me for one health issue I had when I was 10 years old (I won't call it a precondition because it is not an ongoing issue and it doesn't put me at health risk more than anyone else, but stil...). I think it is illegal to discriminate based on preconditions, but obviously they won't tell outright the reason of rejection. They just provide a vague reply such as "unfortunately we cannot accept your application at this time". So, I simply omitted it to get Hospital Italiano's coverage and it worked. It was the sales advisor's suggestion, as she took pity on us after we told her that Hospital Aleman and Suizo had already rejected us.

    Hospital Italiano is renowned for their staff and equipment, but I suppose the best players are left for the most pressing issues or better-connected insured patients. They also have their own Hospital here in Almagro. This is their biggest selling point, especially to us who live close. Some health insurances here are just brokerages and do not have their own facilities, so they resort on Hospital Italiano, Hospital Aleman etc.

    We can get care also at other facilities that are part of their affiliated network, but sometimes they don't share the same medical opinion as their colleagues at Hospital Italiano.

    When we were still in San Isidro, I had an abscess that needed to be drained because I couldn't sleep at night due to the pain it was causing me. We went to the HI facility in San Isidro (guardia), but it was a basic facility with no surgery tools nor sterile environment. The doctor on call directed me to the nearest affiliated hospital, also in San Isidro - Hospital San Lucas. We paid a co-pay fee to be attended at their ER at this other place since it was not a HI facility. However, when the other doctor saw me, she said she didn't think my abscess needed to be cut and refused to even touch me.

    At that point, my husband walked back to the HI facility. Luckily, the same doctor who had seen me was still on call. She said to go to the ER of the HI Hospital in Almagro, and that she was calling them in advance to make sure I'd get my abscess drained as soon as possible. We didn't have a car back then, but my husband's grandfather drove us to Almagro and I was able to get my abscess cut.

    We are keeping HI just in case anything big should happen, as it is the best hospital near to us and probably one of the best in the City. It is just that they make it so hard to actually access care for regular checkups.

    I am also very happy with my GP, who is still the one I had in San Isidro and that I have never seen in years, but he uses the messaging system, and whenever I need something, he is just one text away.

  • Each of the hospitals seem to have a good reputation for doing certain things. My missus was advised to go to the Italiano by a doctor friend of ours when I had to have my gallbladder operation. At least I think it was there. It was very good anyway. :thumbup:

    The missus has just informed me it was the Aleman not the Italiano.

  • We have our plan in the Hospital Aleman. We have plan A6 which is one of their medium ones - no co-pays at all unless it is something at the very top end.

    The reason we are with them is quite amusing.

    We had just canceled our plan with OSDE as we had just bought a new house in CABA and we thought we would have a few months off paying for a plan we never used. About a month later we discovered that Mrs GJ was pregnant.... major panic as we had no health insurance and we tried to get back into OSDE, alleging the bank had messed up with the direct debit.

    No joy ...

    We then started shopping around and met a nice sales person at Hospital Aleman who told us , if you pay three months back money in arrears, you can join the plan and have the baby with us.

    That seemed to work for us and it did.

    Gynecology and pediatrics worked very efficently

    Some specialties have longer waiting times than others but if you know this in advance you can book in advance.

    But they do have a system of "demanda espontanea " where you can go and wait for the first available doctor and you don't normally have to wait for more than a couple of hours.

    This is in addition to the A&E Guardia which works fairly well.

    I have used the hospital for a minor Sinusitis op and a couple of cardiology matters which could have been serious but were quite minor.

    I was also treated very quickly for a Deep Vein Thrombosis - They were tremendously thorough here and didn't let me out until they were absolutely sure the one small clot in my leg hadn't moved anywhere else in my body.

    Decembers payment will be 200,000 for the three of us .

    Expensive , yes , but its been the same price in USD for several years now.

  • Before coming to live here I rarely visited my doctor...about once every few years.

    Since living here though I'm never away from them. They always seem to suggest I get this and that tested or examined by someone. One of their friends no doubt. :rolleyes:

  • UK Man, it’s called preventive medicine: trying to locate and diagnose problems before they become serious, even life-threatening situations.

    Rather like preventive maintenance on your house and car, instead of waiting until the roof caves in or the engines rusts through and drops out on the street.

    I’m not accusing your UK National Health Care providers of not being arsed about your physical health.  But you WERE a young man then, and many health threats don’t turn up until late middle age.  You might consider the possibility that your healthcare providers are doing a very good job for you.

  • After University, I think I visited a doctor in Scotland once in ten years.

    In Spain maybe twice in the following eighteen years

    Here a little bit more as parts of my body stop functioning or function in a way they were not intended to.

    Rice is right ... we are getting older and things are different!

  • Fair enough, I suppose nobody's forcing me to go if I don't want to. Still think it's a bit OTT and at least one doctor I know here was pulled up for doing it.

    Anyway the missus has told me I've got an appointment this Friday with the scary woman chest doctor. As always her first question will be, "Have you stopped smoking yet?'' She'll get my usual reply of ''not until there's someone sensible running the bloody country.'' ^^

  • Here's me somewhat surprised at the cost of local health insurance. :huh:

    It's a significant sum to factor into my monthly financial budget but it is what it is.

    I see nobody has mentioned the British Hospital. I assume they offer something similar to all those mentioned above?

  • Here's me somewhat surprised at the cost of local health insurance. :huh:

    It's a significant sum to factor into my monthly financial budget but it is what it is.

    I see nobody has mentioned the British Hospital. I assume they offer something similar to all those mentioned above?

    They have basic details of their health plans on their website.

    I dont know anyone who uses it - maybe because of the location as pointed out by bebopalula.