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Why healthcare in Latin America is better for retirees

For retirees looking for the perfect retirement haven, you’ll find plenty of options in Latin America. Not only will you discover rich, diverse cultures, but the healthcare systems in some of these Latin American countries are highly cost-effective. So much so, that many retirees from the U.S. flock over to countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico to settle permanently and experience quality healthcare services.

In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, we’ll look at a few countries that offer some of the best healthcare systems in the region and provide some guidance on how retirees need to prepare before moving over.

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A brief overview of the healthcare systems in Latin American

  • The region is home to more than 18,000 hospitals that offer plenty of choices for healthcare.
  • Healthcare options tend to be much cheaper in Latin American countries than in other parts of the world. For example, the cost of healthcare in countries, such as Mexico, Columbia, and Panama is significantly less than the U.S. and Canada. Nevertheless, the level of care and standards is comparable.

To illustrate, Mexico’s average cost of a general practitioner (GP) visit is USD $15 and a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan is around USD $200. Costs in the U.S. vary significantly but could be at least ten times higher.

  • Latin American countries generally consist of a public healthcare sector and a private healthcare sector. Both are sufficient but differ on the level of services they offer.

For more information, refer to Pacific Prime Latin America’s article: An overview of Latin American healthcare systems.

Healthcare systems worth considering for retirees

What healthcare options do I have? Where can I go to receive the best quality healthcare treatment? Are medical professionals multi-lingual? Are emergency medical services equipped and experienced to handle life-threatening health situations? Will I be safe? From experience, these are some of the questions that retirees will be contemplating and considering deeply.

Below are a few countries with well-established healthcare systems that retirees can confidently consider moving to.


The country is the largest by far in the region and has a model healthcare system for developing countries. Brazil’s public healthcare system is relatively new at over 20 years and is built on four pillars: promoting health, preventing sickness, treating the sick and injured, and tackling serious diseases. Brazil’s continued growth and development means healthcare will improve drastically in the years to come. It was mentioned by PR Newswire that Brazil is considered as one of the most lucrative healthcare markets in Latin America, with consistent ranking amongst the top five global destinations for medical tourism.

According to the Brazil Healthcare Market Outlook 2020 report, healthcare expenditure in the country has been rising continuously, which is driving the healthcare industry. The pharmaceutical market has shown tremendous growth with the generic drug segment forecasted to do well in the future. This is pleasant news for retirees as prescription drugs will be a necessity as one grows old.

One thing to also consider for retirees is that foreigners in Brazil are entitled to emergency care, but most expats often opt for retiree health insurance to access better healthcare facilities with fewer crowds and multi-lingual staff.


Similar to Brazil, Argentina is regarded as having one of the best healthcare systems in Latin America. Argentina’s major cities like Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Mendoza are popular for those looking for high-standard healthcare services. Medical staff in private hospitals and clinics are well trained and healthcare facilities are fairly well equipped, while public hospitals offer more basic services.

The private healthcare sector is funded primarily by voluntary insurance programs. For retirees considering Argentina as a country of choice to move to, you are encouraged to secure private health insurance to ensure your medical needs are taken care of. More than 6 million individuals in Argentina are covered by private insurance, which goes to show the popularity of health insurance coverage in the country.


Of all the Latin American countries to recommend to retirees and expats, Mexico makes the top 3. The country has excellent healthcare facilities that are available in a three-tier system: basic, public system, and private system. The level of healthcare is so effective that millions of U.S. citizens travel over to take advantage of the medical tourism industry every year. Every medium to large city has at least one top-level hospital, with most medical professionals receiving at least part of their training in the U.S. Retirees can learn more from the article: Healthcare for expat retirees in Mexico.

What to do if you are planning your retirement in Latin America?

By now, you will understand that Latin America has excellent options and choices of healthcare services, and choosing a country like Brazil, Argentina, or even Mexico is a no-brainer for retirement.

If Latin America is definitely on your mind, then you’ll need to find out:

  • Where the best hospitals are?
  • What level of access do retirees or foreign individuals have to public healthcare?
  • Where the specialists for healthcare are?
  • How to pay for treatment?

The answers and much more can be provided by simply getting in touch and/or securing a health insurance plan with an intermediary firm like Pacific Prime Latin America.

Our experts at Pacific Prime Latin America can help retirees from all walks of life compare health insurance and address things, such as level of cover and the types of benefits covered. With more than two decades of experience in the insurance industry, we know what retirees should look for.

Contact us for impartial advice or to receive an obligation-free quote today.

Content Creator at Pacific Prime Latin America
Jimmy is a content writer who helps simplify insurance for readers interested in international private medical insurance. He is on a mission in Thailand to support locals, expatriates, and businesses by bring the latest news and updates to his Pacific Prime blog articles.

His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.