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Healthcare in Ecuador

Mar 12, 2013

Healthcare in Ecuador

When you’re considering a retirement or vacation home in a foreign country, healthcare may not be the first thing on your checklist; especially if you only plan to spend a few months of the year there and are currently in excellent health. 

However, as we all know, illness and injury can happen to even the healthiest of people. And no matter how much precaution you take, accidents still happen. This is where peace of mind knowing that quality healthcare is available comes in…  

Aside from extremely affordable real estate, miles and miles of private beaches and its incredibly diverse geography, Ecuador also offers high-quality, low-cost healthcare. It’s here that you’ll receive personal attention from physicians that you didn’t even think was still possible! And not only are the doctors extremely attentive, they are equipped with the ability to provide exceptional care with state-of-the-art equipment. In addition, they are all trained in either the US or Europe and return on a regular basis to continue their training on new procedures and equipment.

Hospitals and Medical Centers in Ecuador

Although quality healthcare is available throughout Ecuador, as with all countries, there are limited services available in more rural areas and the quality of healthcare may not be as good, depending on how rural you may be.

That being said, no matter where you may be considering a property or home purchase, you are within driving range of a major, quality medical center. Guayaquil, located near the Pacific coast, Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, located in the northwest and Cuenca in the south, all have a minimum of 6 hospitals and employ specialists in all fields of medicine.

Just like most countries in Latin America, Ecuador’s healthcare system consists of both public and private. Doctors in Ecuador are required to work in the public system, but many also have private practices and are affiliated with a major private hospital. The public system is certainly cheaper then private, but there are no mandates on quality, so facilities can vary widely and there are typically longer waiting times. However, the private options are still inexpensive – especially when compared to those in the US. 

As an example of costs, a trip to a general practitioner will cost you between $25 and $30, while a trip to a specialist will range from $30 to $40. If you require a simple procedure that involves a local anesthesia, perhaps a lump removal and biopsy, you will only be out about $100.  

Health Insurance in Ecuador

If you’d feel more comfortable purchasing health insurance during your time in Ecuador, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank. An evaluation between the US and Ecuador, with a similar insurance policy for a 60 year old man, found that he would pay a monthly premium of $1200, whereas in Ecuador he only pays $66. In the case of a woman between 50 and 60, the price is $67 per month. These policy prices come from Salud, S.A., the largest health insurance company in Latin America.

If your age is making private insurance coverage difficult to obtain, and you plan to live out your days in Ecuador, why not apply to the country’s Social Security system (IESS)? They maintain a healthcare system across the country with clean, modern facilities in all major towns and cities. As long as you have a cedula or Ecuadorian ID card (residency), there is no age limit. Monthly fees are just over $50 a month and after a six month waiting period, all doctor visits, tests, procedures, medications, dental and eye glasses are 100% covered.

Of course, no one likes to think about health issues or complications while you’re visiting or living in such a beautiful location. But, life happens, and it’s not always something that we can help or avoid. It’s in these instances that it’s good to know what’s available to you if you or a loved one requires medical assistance; and Ecuador does not disappoint.

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