Healthcare in Argentina
In Argentina, the
country's Health and Social Actions Ministry (MSAS) is made responsible
to monitor and regulate the healthcare sector in the country.
In addition to the legislative work, the Ministry is also in
charge of evaluating medical options and collating market statistics.
In Argentina, the
people here regard Obras Sociales as the closest thing to the Workers
Union. Its major role
includes financing and overlooking the health of the workers in the
country. Obras Sociales has over 300 chapters and each is responsible
for taking care of the healthcare of public servants in every top level.
However, with such number of chapters, it is perhaps natural that
Obras Sociales finds it challenging to maintain consistent service level
quality and effectiveness across all.
According to a study commissioned by MSAS, as much as three
quarters of beneficiaries as well as resources were attributed to just
the top 30 chapters. For
that reason, MSAS has come out with Solidarity Redistribution Fund
(FSR). The primary focus of
this new fund was to address the imbalance with regards to the
beneficiaries aspect of Obras Sociales.
There was also an inherent weakness with the Obras Sociales
system as coverage tends to extend to people working in the formal
sectors. Regardless, since
the severe financial meltdown in 2001, more and more Argentinians were
perceived to be under-cover.
This is primarily caused by the combines the effects of major
retrenchment as well as more people found employment within the informal
The last available figures were dated back to 1999 when a study
stated that close to 8.9 million beneficiaries in
were covered by Obras Sociales.
Private Healthcare in
The country boasts of a significant number of small and
independent private healthcare providers.
Some of them have formed alliances among themselves, although
they are usually small in scale as well as inadequate in facilities.
Market estimates put it that there are some 200 such disjointed
networks that provide insurance healthcare to some 2 million Argentines
and it is little wonder that the industry faces a huge challenge in
making individual insurance cover consistent across the country.
In 2000, a study was commissioned by IRBC and it pointed out that
offshore insurance companies have make inroads into the country.
These foreign competitions are represented by not just healthcare
players from regional countries (i.e. Latin America
region), but also from the
United States and
Western Europe countries such as Switzerland.
The local government does not make any special provisions for
these foreign competitors; just like their local counterparts, these
companies are supposed to be guided by the same set of legislation.
Public Healthcare in Argentina
Argentines who are not covered by private insurance plans or Obras
Sociales can rely on the public system.
It is especially handy when one involves in an emergency medical
situation. The same IRBC
report mentioned earlier also indicated that the country's public
healthcare sector suffers from major structural flaws.
Some of the problems pointed out by the report are: lack of
competent management, in efficient deployment of manpower,
administrative power is split along the line of provincials, poor
commutations across the organization, less than optimal use of
information system to automate processes and aid decision making,
uninspiring incentive programs, lack of fund for critical equipment and
facilities up keeping, plus a host of really fundamental problems which
would not otherwise be associated with an organization this size.
Within this public system, healthcare (it invariably includes also
primary care) is administered from local townships.
The healthcare responsibility was handed down from the provincial
level to individual town.
Due to the financial crises in 2001, increasingly more Argentines are
attracted to the public system.
Latest available figures reveals that close to 37.4% of
Argentines were not under any insurance cover in 2000. Fortunately,
Obras Sociales exists to provide insurance coverage for approximately
half of the country; among these, 3.8% also enjoy additional coverage
from the private insurance providers.
Only 8.6% of the population opts for exclusive private insurance