Healthcare in Ecuador
Excellent Healthcare in Ecuador at a Fraction of U.S. Prices
One of the great perks for foreign residents living in Ecuador is high-quality, low-cost healthcare. Here, you will receive personal attention from medical practitioners not seen in the U.S. since the 1960s. You’ll have access to excellent medical care in Ecuador. In the bigger cities, you’ll find hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment, as well as specialists in all fields and physicians with private clinics.
But you don’t need to live in a metropolis to take advantage of good quality healthcare. Smaller cities also have private clinics and hospitals that are clean, modern, and contain knowledgeable staff. And in small towns you’ll often find private doctors who go that extra mile with some even making house calls if you’re too ill to go out.
A visit to a general practitioner costs $25 to $30 while a visit to a specialist runs $30 to $40. A psychiatrist will charge $30 to $40 for a half-hour session. Ambulatory procedures are equally inexpensive. For example, the removal of a small lump (under local anesthesia), and a biopsy, costs about $100.
Pharmacists are also qualified to give medical advice for minor ailments such as rashes or ear infections and they usually provide this service for free. Brand name medicines usually cost less than in the U.S. Generics, which are widely available, are also much cheaper. And many medications that require a prescription in the U.S. can be bought over the counter in Ecuador.
And don’t be afraid of surgery—many specialists in Ecuador have trained in the U.S. or Europe and have top-notch skills. For example, a shoulder repair for a torn tendon is a two-hour procedure done under general anesthetic. The total bill for the operation, anesthesia, pre- and post-operative care, an overnight stay in the hospital, and all supplies and medications costs just $2,900—about a quarter of what the same procedure costs in the U.S.
The high standard of dentistry at low percentages of North American prices attracts medical tourists and is a nice bonus for expats. A full teeth cleaning and exam at a nice facility in the city of Ibarra runs $20. Fillings are $20 per tooth. Even orthodontics cost half or less of what you would pay in the U.S.
Health insurance is a bargain in Ecuador. A review of comparable insurance policies for a 60-year-old man in the U.S. and Ecuador, tell the story. In the U.S., the man would pay a monthly premium of $1,200; in Ecuador he pays $66. A woman, age 50 to 60, would pay $67 for the same policy in Ecuador while coverage for a dependent child, between 2 and 17 years-of-age, costs $15.69 a month.
The policy cited is offered by Salud, S.A., Latin America’s largest health insurance company and pays 80% of doctor’s visits, 60% of medications costs, and 100% of hospitalization. It also offers extra coverage for walk-in procedures and accidents.
Despite the low cost of health insurance many expats in Ecuador without major medical issues choose to self-insure. They simply set aside an amount of money each month as a reserve for medical care. Most routine and minor medical care can easily be funded this way due to the inexpensive nature of treatments.
*Prices as of 2015
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