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Expat Exchange - Understanding the Health System in El Salvador
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El Zonte, El Salvador


Understanding the Health System in El Salvador

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: Discover the realities of the healthcare system in El Salvador and how it may serve expats, digital nomads, retirees, and others who relocate or reside in the country.

El Salvador's healthcare system is composed of both public and private healthcare options. The public healthcare system is provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and is free for Salvadoran citizens. Foreigners (expats and digital nomads) are allowed to use the public healthcare system in El Salvador, however, it is not typically used by foreigners. Public hospitals are generally not recommended for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, as they are often overcrowded and lack the necessary resources.

El Salvador's Public Healthcare System

El Salvador's public healthcare system is provided by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and is free for Salvadoran citizens. The public healthcare system includes a network of public hospitals, clinics, and health centers throughout the country. The public healthcare system is generally not recommended for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, as they are often overcrowded and lack the necessary resources.

El Salvador's Private Healthcare System

El Salvador's private healthcare system is composed of private hospitals, clinics, and health centers. Private healthcare is more expensive than public healthcare, but it is generally of higher quality and more reliable. Expats primarily use private hospitals, as they are more likely to have the necessary resources and staff to provide quality care. Private hospitals are recommended for serious medical emergencies and major surgery, as they are better equipped to handle these types of cases.

El Salvador's Top Hospitals

El Salvador has several well-known hospitals, including:

  • Hospital Nacional Rosales (public hospital located in San Salvador)
  • Hospital de la Mujer (public hospital located in San Salvador)
  • Hospital de Especialidades (public hospital located in San Salvador)
  • Hospital de la Divina Providencia (private hospital located in San Salvador)
  • Hospital Metropolitano (private hospital located in San Salvador)
  • Hospital San Rafael (private hospital located in San Miguel)
  • Hospital San Juan de Dios (private hospital located in Santa Ana)
  • Hospital San Vicente de Paul (private hospital located in San Salvador)

Health Insurance Companies in El Salvador

The most popular private health insurers in El Salvador are Seguros de Salud, Seguros MultiSalud, and Seguros de Vida. Expats and digital nomads typically use these companies or specialized expat health insurance providers.

Insider Tips from Expats in El Salvador: How to Navigate the Health System

"Medical services in El Salvador are generally of a good standard, with a range of public and private hospitals and clinics available. The public health system is free for citizens, and provides basic medical care, although it is often underfunded and overcrowded. Private hospitals and clinics offer more comprehensive services, but can be expensive. El Salvador also has a number of specialized medical centers, such as cancer treatment centers, and a number of international hospitals and clinics," commented one member living in El Salvador.

"Medical services are all free right here in Candelaria de la Frontera. If you want air conditioning in a big city, you have Santa Ana with many health facilities that have reasonably priced medical care," commented one expat living in Candelaria de la Frontera, El Salvador.

"Healthcare services in El Salvador are provided by both public and private institutions. The public healthcare system is managed by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and is funded by the government. The quality of public healthcare in El Salvador is generally considered to be below average, with limited access to specialized care and a lack of resources. Foreign residents do have access to the public healthcare system, but they are not eligible for the same benefits as Salvadoran citizens. Expats in El Salvador typically use private healthcare services, as they are more reliable and offer better quality care. However, some expats may use the public healthcare system if they are unable to afford private care," mentioned one expat living in El Salvador.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

El Zonte, El Salvador

William Russell
William Russell

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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William RussellWilliam Russell

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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