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Expat Healthcare & Health Insurance in Montanita, Ecuador

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An expat in Ecuador says that it's worthwhile to sign up for IESS insurance, that most medication is available over the counter and that there are world class doctors in Ecuador.


Expat Healthcare Advice for Montanita

Do sign up for IESS national healthcare. Note that as of July 2017 the rate will be based on Verified Income. The rate will be 17.6% and an additional 2.4% per dependent. An expat on $1200 Social Security with one dependent would therefore pay $240 a month for Health coverage.

Emergency Medical Care in Montanita

I live in Montañita, the middle of the Ecuador coast and the north of the province of Santa Elena. Closest hospital is one town away (Manglaralto). It is public. Better hospitals about 90 minutes south (Salinas, Santa Elena, Libertad) and World class medical three hours by car (Guayaquil)

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Quality of Healthcare in Surrounding Area

Guayaquil Cuenca and Quito are world class centers for cardiology and oncology. Specialists: Quito also has an English speaking psychiatrist on staff at Metropolitano. Cuenca has a world reknown plastic reconstruction surgeon Dr. Pablo Salamae. Dr. Salamae provides his skills free of charge for life altering surgery to the children of Ecuador. Cuenca also has an English speaking Multiple Sclerosis specialist, Dr. Piedra. Guayaquil has excellent cardiologists at the Kennedy Norte area.

Prescription Medicines

Most medication is available over the counter. Medication that is narcotic, sedative, opiod, such as anti anxiety drugs and pain medication is restricted to severely restricted.

Medications such as antidepressants (SSRI & NSRI), thyroid medications, insulin, and NSAID are available though not every type or formulation.

At certain times basic drugs may be embargoed. An example is embargo on NSAID drugs (ibuprofen, naprosyn, aspirin) during a mosquito borne virus outbreak.

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is a common antihistamine in the USA that is not available in Ecuador.

Expat Health Insurance in Ecuador

Do get IESS insurance. It will cover your coasts in the event of an accident or illness.

As of July 2017, IESS will require payment on verified income, closing a loophole that allowed payment on claimed income.

The obligated amount is 17.6% of the monthly verified income and 2.4% for each additional dependent.

As an example, an expat on a limited pension of $800 a month would pay $140.80

A retired married couple living on their $1200 a month pay. $240.

Quality of Healthcare Compared to Home

[  ] Better
[x] Somewhat Better
[  ] Same
[  ] Somewhat Worse
[  ] Worse

Availability of Medical Care Compared to Home

[x] Better
[  ] Somewhat Better
[  ] Same
[  ] Somewhat Worse
[  ] Worse

Primary Method of Payment for Medical Care

[  ] International Health Insurance
[  ] Insurance Purchased in the Country I Live Abroad In
[  ] Out of Pocket
[x] Social Program (Medicare, Nationalized Health Insurance or Similar)
[  ] Other


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