Social security agreement
The social security agreement between Chile and Finland covers national and survivors´ pensions as well as medical care for pensioners. Under the agreement, a person who receives a pension from Finland or Chile and who resides in the territory of the other party to the agreement, is entitled to medical care on the same terms as pensioners covered by the legislation of the country of residence. Other categories of people temporarily in the country, such as tourists, are not entitled to medical care benefits in Chile.
Healthcare and medical care
Chile has both a public and a private healthcare system. Public hospitals are often poorly equipped. The doctors are nevertheless professional and highly trained. The same doctors often work partly in the public sector and partly in the private sector. The private clinics and hospitals in Santiago are of a high standard. When travelling to Chile, you should take out comprehensive travel insurance. A clinica is a private hospital, and a hospital is a public hospital.
The two biggest private hospitals of Santiago are Clinica Alemana and Clinica Las Condes. Both hospitals have a ward for international patients. Medical care in private institutions is expensive. The biggest hospitals accept credit cards, but frequently payment must be made in cash.
Chile has two health insurance systems. To enrol in the health insurance system, a Chilean ID card and number (RUT) are required. FONASA (Fondo Nacional de Salud) is the state’s public healthcare system intended only for Chilean citizens and those with a resident permit. There are both public hospitals and private clinics under FONASA. The private system is called ISAPREs (Instituciones de Salud Previsional), and it consists of several companies offering ISAPRE health insurances. ISAPREs offer a higher-class service that is somewhat more expensive and less congested than the FONASA system. Both systems provide emergency treatment when required.
If you are health insured in Finland, and have received treatment in some other country than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland on account of a sudden illness, worsening of a chronic condition, pregnancy or childbirth, you can apply for reimbursement from Kela retrospectively. You are entitled for the same reimbursement that you would have received if you had been treated in the private healthcare system in Finland. Please note that the reimbursement usually covers only a small part of the costs of the treatment. Thus, taking out a comprehensive travel insurance is recommended.
Dental care is of high quality in Chile and often somewhat more expensive than in Finland.
Prescription medicines prescribed by local doctors as well as prescription-free medicines are widely available from pharmacists. In general, medicines are expensive, but pharmacies also sell considerably less expensive generic medicines on request.