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Ecuador Expat Forum

National Health Care?

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expattobe26
2/18/2018 11:00 EST

Does Ecuador have a national health care system? If so, what are the requirements to get into it as an expat / permanent resident? What about coverage of pre-existing condition, including medications? I am not able to get one of the international health insurance plans due to a pre-existing condition (I have checked).

andrewestes
2/18/2018 14:31 EST

Where I live, Salinas, the national Health care is IESS, and it is great. $66/mo, $0 deductible, and no pre-existing exclusion. I was in the hospital for a week last year, (Ancon) great personal care, good medical care, lots of personal attention, poor facility, but made up for by excellent care. I left with a grocery sack of prescription antibiotics. total cost out of pocket $0. Not only is it available, it's mandatory.

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mantatiger
2/18/2018 14:40 EST

Well, there is IESS, which is social security and does include nationalized health care. The problem is, in order to get IESS, you need to be a Resident first and get your Cedula.

In order to get your Cedula after you have your Resident Visa and you need health care. So you will have to get private health insurance, at least a 3 or 6 month policy, then use that to get your Cedula, Then you can sign up for IESS.

I do not know what they cover, what they dont and what meds they have in stock.

mbryred
3/16/2018 11:11 EST

I just went through this, but it seems there is no one experience that fits all. When I came and fell in love with Ecuador in late 2016, I started the residency process before I left. As the laws were changing, it took 6 months to get the 2 year residency visa. When I returned to Ecuador in November 2017, just before the end of the 60 day allowed pick-up time from when the visa was granted, my Cuenca lawyers immediately sent my passport to Quito and I had it back in 3 days with the Visa. Then the catch 22. Medical insurance is now required of all foreigners (yes President Moreno has postponed the latest law, now set to be implemented May 1, maybe). I went through Bell Genica and paid $110 per month (month to month contract) so I could get my cedula, so I could get IESS. No cedula (ie- USA Green card) without insurance and no IESS without cedula. I'm now all set, but as I'm on a retiree visa they collect the nationwide standard of 17.6% of my Social Security for IESS. I'm told that the law will eventually catch up with all foreigners, to pay the 17.6% of declared income, the minimum of which was just under $800/year, when I applied.

GringoinQuito
3/16/2018 12:59 EST

I believe that insurance is to be mandated just for tourists, but maybe I am wrong.

EARLABS
3/17/2018 11:28 EST

Yes exactly as stated, I joined the system as a backup in case of any serious medical problem . I was previously paying for private medical services out of pocket as I was a bit concerned about the waiting time and stories I had heard from others about the long wait for services lac of attention etc. After 2 years of paying for private services . I decided to give the healthcare system I was not using a try. Wow was I surprised, I went to the IESS medical facility here in central La libertad, by appointment (which can be made on line or using the call center ) for my annual physical. Yes, there were lines to check in but once checked in I was seen within 30 min of my appointment. I was surprised since in the states the wait was usually close to an hr with an appointment. I was assigned not just one doctor but for annual physical I saw an Internist, a Cardiologist and a Urologist so 3 specialists , Urologist consult was deemend necessary as I had a previous problem which had been successfully treated. In addition since it was my annual physical I had blood work (routine labs for a male of my age and EKG ) . The bloodwork was at another facility and yes a wait for the drawing to register, but took less an an hour total. I also was given my blood pressure mens from the plan which saved me 60. a month . IT WAS A HUGE SURPRISE ! All the doctors were good, efficient and well informed on current applications and treatements, and mostly Cuban . I certainly have no compalints but also have not had need any emergency treatment therefore cannot comment on that type service . I have saved hundreds on private medical and pharmacy needs under the IESS service and have heard that they have improved over the past. Best of luck with your search for information. PS I am somewhat better informed about the treatment I received as I am an Audiologist EARLABS

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