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JULY 27, 2022

End of payment for public health: these are the details of the historic measure announced by President Gabriel Boric

Zero co-payment in the public health network is a concrete measure that will mean more than five million people affiliated with the National Health Fund (FONASA) in the C and D categories will no longer have to pay for medical attention from September.

President Gabriel Boric has announced news that settles a historic debt and finally fulfills the desire to have completely free public health for everyone. He has declared that the more than five million people affiliated with the National Health Fund (FONASA) in the C and D categories will no longer have to pay for medical attention from September.

This is the most important health announcement to be made in the last 16 years, as the Zero Co-Payment in the Public Health Network policy is a concrete measure that benefits the middle class. With this initiative, those in FONASA’s C and D categories will be given free medical attention in the public health system (for ailments that are covered by the AUGE/GES scheme and those that are not), joining those in the A and B categories who already receive free healthcare. 

It should be noted that people in FONASA’s C and D categories must currently pay for their medical attention. The C category includes people whose monthly taxable income is equal to or more than 380,000 Chilean pesos (US$417), and the D category those whose monthly taxable income is equal to or more than 554,800 pesos (US$609).

Thanks to this government initiative, all of the more than 15 million people affiliated with FONASA will receive free healthcare in the public system.

Pathway

FONASA beneficiaries can access healthcare in two ways:  the Institutional Care Pathway (Modalidad de Atención Institucional, MAI), which occurs through the Public Health Network; and the Free Choice Pathway (Modalidad Libre Elección, MLE), which generally occurs through private establishments that have an agreement with FONASA. The recently announced measure will benefit users opting for the Institutional Care Pathway (MAI).

When considering the figures related to health benefits, as a country we make an average 110 million medical appointments per year. Of these, 80 million take place in the public healthcare system and 30 million in the private healthcare system. Of those that take place in the private healthcare system, half are financed by FONASA.

Almost 80% of Chile’s population is currently affiliated with FONASA, and 17% of the population has private health insurance.

Good news

The announcement was made by President Gabriel Boric this Wednesday at the Félix Bulnes Hospital, where he was accompanied by a number of people, including Health Minister María Begoña Yarza. The President explained, “we are here to fulfill a commitment that we set out in our manifesto, which we ratified in the State of the Nation Address on June 1, and which makes historic progress in the area of health.”

He added that “many generations of Chileans have dreamed of what we are today turning into reality, namely to have a public healthcare system free for all FONASA users.” 

In closing, he highlighted that “rights do not have to be a business and that is what we are aiming for. We are going to do our utmost so that healthcare, pensions, housing and education are accessible to all our country’s citizens.”