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Expat Exchange - Health Insurance for Expats in Ecuador
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Guayaquil, Ecuador


Health Insurance for Expats in Ecuador

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: As you plan your move to Ecuador, a key decision awaits: selecting the right health insurance. Should you go with local or expat coverage? This article explores the options and includes experiences shared by expats in Ecuador, offering a glimpse into what might work best for you.

Ecuador has become a popular destination for expats and digital nomads, offering a blend of beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and affordable living costs. An important aspect to consider when moving to Ecuador is understanding the health insurance system, which includes both public and private options, to ensure you have the necessary coverage for a worry-free stay.

Health Insurance Companies in Ecuador

In Ecuador, there are several health insurance companies that cater to the needs of the population, including expats. The most popular health insurers include IESS (Instituto Ecuatoriano de Seguridad Social), which is the public health insurance, and private companies such as SaludSA, BMI, and Best Doctors. Expats are eligible to purchase health insurance from these companies, and many offer plans specifically designed for the international community living in Ecuador. These plans often provide a range of coverage options, from basic to comprehensive, to suit different healthcare needs and budgets.

Expat Health Insurance in Ecuador

Many expats living in Ecuador opt for specialized expat health insurance plans. These plans are tailored to the unique needs of expats, offering coverage that may not be available through local insurers, such as international medical evacuation and repatriation. Some expats choose these plans for the peace of mind that comes with having a policy that is designed for the global lifestyle, ensuring that they are covered not only in Ecuador but also when they travel to other countries or return to their home country for visits.

Local Health Insurance vs. Expat Health Insurance

Expats and digital nomads in Ecuador often face the decision of choosing between local health insurance and specialized expat health insurance providers. Local insurance companies can offer plans that are more affordable and provide access to a wide network of healthcare providers within Ecuador. However, expat health insurance might be preferred by those who require more comprehensive coverage, including international benefits, or who are not comfortable navigating the local healthcare system in Spanish. The choice largely depends on individual circumstances, including the length of stay, healthcare needs, and travel plans.

Considerations for Health Insurance Overseas

When deciding on health insurance while living overseas, there are several important factors to consider. One key aspect is whether the insurer pays the hospital directly or if you must pay out-of-pocket and submit claims for reimbursement. This can significantly impact your cash flow and convenience. Additionally, it's important to understand the coverage limits, the network of hospitals and doctors, the process for filing claims, and whether the policy includes repatriation or evacuation services. Understanding the terms and conditions of your health insurance policy is crucial to ensure that you have the appropriate coverage for your time in Ecuador.

Expats talk about Health Insurance in Ecuador

" I am convinced that health insurance is a scam and that the cost of medical care is a scam in the USA. It has been proven to me by my experiences and the experiences of others in Ecuador and throughout Mexico, Central and South America. The Allopathic medical system has the worst record in losing patients to life threatening diseases, but the best records in trama cases where you have to air lift a patient to a hospital. I will only opt for Natural healing methods, which really work. I have also seen in the rural areas, a free health clinic with Allopathic medical doctors offering 24 hour service 7 days a week, being ignored by the local population, except in trauma cases. These rural folks go to their local healers and pay a very low fee for herbal and other healing preparations. Why? Because their experience is that the herbal preparations work and also have no side effects. They therefore do not opt for health insurance. ," commented one expat living in Cuenca, 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. ," mentioned one expat living in Ecuador.

"The cost of medical care if much cheaper than the United States. I had back surgery for $8,000 and I only had to pay $1,000 deductible," said an expat in Ecuador.

"I would pay out of pocket if it were still available, because doctors are cheap. With my cheap insurance, I will still have to pay out of pocket and maybe get reimbursement if I'm lucky. Insurance here is a government sponsored racket, as whenever government requires something the drops and prices go up, that's why governments do it. If it were a service people actually wanted it wouldn't be required," remarked one expat in Ecuador.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Guayaquil, Ecuador

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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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