Ecuador has one of the lowest costs of living in Latin America, and Ecuador health care is not only extremely affordable…it’s first-rate to boot.
Like many Latin American countries, the Ecuador health care system is really two systems… public and private.
The public health system is cheap, but as with all public health systems, the quality of individual facilities can vary widely, and waits to be seen can be long.
But the private options for Ecuador health care are still very affordable…often ridiculously cheap when compared to U.S. services.
All doctors in Ecuador must work in the public health system, but many are also in private practice and are affiliated with one of the countries major private hospitals. (A good list of Ecuador’s public and private facilities can be found here.)
Many medical procedures, both minor and major, cost half or less what comparable services cost in the U.S. And there is no shortage of well-trained doctors and medical specialists to perform them.
One downside of private health insurance in Ecuador and many other Latin American countries is that companies will cover you for life if you get in before the age of 60, but won’t write you a policy if you are already over 60. But there are two good options.
Cruz Blanca is an Ecuadorian health care provider and insurer with it’s own clinics in Quito and Guayaquil. If you are not located in those cities, you can get treatment in local clinics and apply for reimbursement within 30 days of the incident. Cruz Blanca has no age limits, and 100% of medications (generic only) are covered.
A medical exam is required for people 65 and over, but there is no maximum limits on annual coverage with Cruz Blanca as there are with some other insurers. Premiums for people in their 50s start at less than $40 per month.
Another option for expats who are too old for private insurance coverage is to apply to the Ecuador Social Security system or IESS. IESS maintains a country-wide health care system, and the facilities in major towns and cities are clean and modern. There is no age limit as long as you have a cedula or Ecuadorian ID card (see here for information on Ecuadorian visas). Monthly fees average a little over $50, and after a six-month waiting period, all physician visits, lab tests, hospital procedures, medications… even eye glasses and dental care… are covered 100%.
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