Health Insurance in Paraguay
First things first; Paraguay is not in Germany! In Germany (or Austria/Switzerland), the state provides comprehensively for its residents. Sometimes so comprehensively that some already feel it as too much. In Paraguay this problem does not exist!
The state hospitals
Paraguay offers basically free primary care in state hospitals, but not in a way we are used to in Europe. If you go to a state hospital (=poor hospital), or have to go, you should prepare yourself for a culture shock. The idea is that people without money and without any health insurance will be treated somehow. One should not expect more than that.
You have to buy and pay for the necessary medicines and remedies yourself. An accompanying person 24 hours a day as a caregiver is obligatory, since one must buy the necessary medicines and materials in surrounding pharmacies. In addition to medication, the patient must also be supplied with water and food around the clock by the accompanying person! If you need a blood transfusion, you have to find a donor yourself, otherwise you will not be operated. You or the accompanying person are responsible for this, otherwise you will have bad cards.
In case of emergency
In case of emergency, the medical first aid in the state “Regional” is not so bad. Due to the very high number of patients, there is a factory-like atmosphere and there are doctors on site at all times. To be fair, the doctors and nurses work hard to really take care of everyone at least halfway. Criminals in handcuffs or accident victims (90% motorcycle) are cared for just as much as people with heat stroke.
However, the structural and other circumstances are and remain devastating.
It just looks terribly run down.
People sleep in the corridors, partly on cardboard on the floor.
Street dogs run around in between looking for food.
The walls are old and dirty.
It is dirty and in no way comparable to the image of a hospital as we are used to in Europe.
As for a PLANNED treatment or even an inpatient stay, you don’t want to have to go there.
If you can spend at least ~Euro 70,- per month for your health then you should get private insurance!
In private hospitals, the quality of the doctors and the structure is certainly by far the best. It is clean, it is tidy; in the greater Asuncion area often even top modern – some things definitely BETTER than in Germany! By far the best medical care in Paraguay can be found in the good private clinics in the capital! It is important that you are aware that this will cost something.
If your 20th birthday is already a little longer ago, then it is very important to
either a good health insurance with insurance card or
to have a quickly available financial cushion of about Euro 5.000,- (or more).
Just in case; you don’t want to have to convince the ambulance driver to stop at the ATM with a bleeding wound. This is not a joke. You should understand this literally. If you are not insured and you (or your companion) do not have cash IN HAND, you may be turned away at the hospital. No one in Paraguay (except the hospital for the poor) is obligated to treat a patient. Especially not if payment is unclear. If you are turned away for lack of an insurance card (or credit), then it’s off to the “hospital for the poor”, see above. Do you want to go there?
Basically, prices for single rooms and treatment even in good hospitals are very cheap compared to Europe or even the USA.
3 weeks of intensive treatment after a stroke can still cost 30.000,- to 40.000,- Euro.
Even if you had the money in principle, do you really have it on hand NOW in case of such an emergency?
How good is your Spanish? Better not assume that anyone understands English or even German.
Having health insurance will save you a lot of worry.
If something happens, you know where to call. You will be helped. One thing is clear, and that is that in Paraguay it costs something to get good treatment. That is why health insurance is called “medicina pre-paga” in the local language. The more you pay, the better the treatment you get. The nicer the hospital, the more modern and better (or available at all) the equipment, the higher the bill will be in the end. And this is where you have another, often hidden, advantage of good health insurance.
We work together with “LIVI salud preventiva” (old name: MCI+ servicios medicos), for which we also conclude insurance contracts.
One can make the contract either directly on site in Paraguay or already from a distance from Europe. Livi can receive direct bank transfers from Germany without any problems.
Why is this useful? The insurance plans have a waiting period between 30 and 365 days for the better benefits. If you take out the insurance a few months before emigration, you will already be entitled to many benefits upon arrival in Paraguay and avoid an “insurance gap”. If we take into account that especially the first weeks in a new country with a different climate and living conditions can lead to an increased need for treatment, taking out health insurance in advance is often a wise decision.
We work directly with the insurance company and are paid accordingly by Livi. Concluding a contract through us costs exactly the same price as in the Livi’s main office in Asuncion. You will not incur any additional costs due to our work.
If you would like to know more about the plans of the LiVi health insurance now, please write us an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.