Living in Argentina?
Healthcare and Transport in Argentina
In addition to universal basic care, another important part of Argentina’s health insurance system are the semi-public obras sociales. They include a variety of healthcare plans, and there are about 300 funds in total. The government was involved in creating them and is responsible for overseeing their activities along with trade unions.
In 2007, about half of Argentina’s population were covered by some type of social insurance, be it the national or the provincial obras sociales. However, in 2015 the government widened the group of people eligible for health insurance and their hope is that, by 2017, over 50% of the eligible population will be covered. In most cases, plans cover more than half the costs on both consultations and medication. Due to recent government reforms, residents can more or less choose their healthcare plans freely among the different types of obras sociales. They all offer a basic package with minimum benefits.
Private Healthcare is Pricey…
Last but not least, there is the private insurance sector. It covers mostly a minority of wealthy upper middle-class and upper-class patients, and in total somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% of the population has some form of private insurance. For the average Argentine worker, out-of-pocket prices are often too high.
Expats living in Argentina, however, usually receive higher salaries, as many are in management or specialist positions. Therefore, a private health insurance plan might be a good idea for you.
…But It Pays to Go Private
In fact, it is highly advisable for expats to have access to private healthcare. A number of hospitals that cater to the foreign population do not accept patients with only public insurance policies. While general medical standards in Argentina are certainly decent, waiting times at public hospitals can be very long. You should also keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that the hospital staff speaks anything but Spanish.
Two Buenos Aires hospitals often recommended to expats in Argentina are the Hospitál Alemán and the British Hospital. Both cater to foreigners and accept a variety of international health insurance plans. Private hospitals like these may even provide their own health insurance options.
In the city and province of Buenos Aires, you should phone 911 in case of emergencies. In other parts of the country, dialing 101 will connect you to the police department, and in case of a fire 107 is the number to call.
For medical emergencies outside Buenos Aires, you should dial 101. Of course, you can always use any ER of a public hospital in such cases, regardless of whether, where, or how you are insured.
Airports in Argentina
A country as vast as Argentina with a sprawling capital region like Buenos Aires obviously needs a solid infrastructure with a well-maintained road network and public transportation options. Fortunately, Argentina has both.
Unless you are traveling the South American continent by bus and will be crossing the border from neighboring states like Bolivia or Brazil, you are most likely to arrive in Argentina on an international flight. There are international airports in the cities of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Mendoza. For flight data, airport facilities, up-to-date exchange rates, and customs taxes, refer to aa2000.com.ar (English available in the top right).
Of course, the busiest airport is Airport Buenos Aires. Once you have landed, a transfer shuttle service can take you from the airport to the center of town for 45 ARS (12 USD). Buenos Aires is the only Argentine city with a subway system (el subte) in addition to local buses, taxis, and rail services to the suburbs.
Argentina’s Bus Networks
Most Argentine cities rely on local buses called colectivos. These complex systems of bus lines, fares, and pre-paid cards can be somewhat confusing for foreigners, though. It’s best to find a helpful local neighbor or co-worker to assist you in figuring out the most important connections at first.
Fortunately, the cross-country bus network of long-distance coaches is far less complicated. If you go by first-class bus or an overnight bus, you will be traveling in relative comfort. Major bus companies such as Andesmar, Nueva Chevallier (Spanish only), and El Rápido Internacional are present in most big cities.
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