If you’re planning to enroll in the public healthcare system in Chile, this article covers the requirements for foreigners to be able enroll in the public healthcare system, the steps involved and more.
Chile is known for its robust public healthcare system, known as Fondo Nacional de Salud (FONASA). This system is lauded for its accessibility and affordability, although it is not without its challenges. It is mandatory for all residents, including foreigners with a valid visa, to contribute to the system. The majority of the population, around 80%, uses FONASA, while the rest opt for private insurance, known as ISAPRE.
Quality and Costs of FONASA
The quality of healthcare under FONASA can vary. While it provides a wide range of services, from routine check-ups to complex surgeries, the system is often criticized for its long waiting times. However, the cost of FONASA is relatively low, with contributions calculated as a percentage of income. The minimum contribution is 7% of a person’s monthly income.
Enrollment in FONASA for Foreigners
Foreigners are eligible to enroll in FONASA once they have obtained a valid visa and a Chilean ID card (cédula de identidad). It is important to note that tourists are not eligible for FONASA and should ensure they have adequate travel insurance to cover any medical expenses during their stay.
Steps for Enrolling in FONASA
- Obtain a valid visa: This is the first step for any foreigner wishing to live and work in Chile. The type of visa required will depend on the individual’s circumstances.
- Apply for a Chilean ID card: Once the visa has been granted, the individual can apply for a Chilean ID card. This is a mandatory requirement for enrolling in FONASA.
- Visit a FONASA office: With a valid visa and Chilean ID card, the individual can visit a FONASA office to enroll in the system. It is advisable to bring a copy of the employment contract as proof of income.
- Choose a healthcare plan: FONASA offers four different plans, A, B, C, and D, based on income. The individual can choose the plan that best suits their needs and financial situation.
If a foreigner is not satisfied with the quality of healthcare provided by FONASA, they can opt for private insurance, ISAPRE. ISAPRE offers faster access to specialists and private hospitals but at a higher cost. It is also possible to use a combination of FONASA and ISAPRE, using the public system for routine care and the private system for specialist services.
In conclusion, while the process of enrolling in FONASA may seem daunting, it is a straightforward process once the individual has obtained a valid visa and Chilean ID card. The system provides a wide range of services at a low cost, making it an attractive option for many foreigners living in Chile.