Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia

Guide to Healthcare in Colombia

9 Expats Talk about Healthcare and Health Insurance in Colombia

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on May 09, 2021

Summary: Expats living in Colombia talk about healthcare, proximity to hospitals and specialists, quality of medical care in Colombia, availability of prescription medicines and more.

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Expats in Colombia offer insight into the quality of healthcare in Colombia, proximity to hospitals, cost of health insurance and more.

What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Colombia?

We asked expat moms who gave birth in Colombia about their experiences and advice they have for other moms to be. They said:

"If you have a high-risk pregnancy, I would recomment returning to the States. The NICU staff at FSF are great, but if our son had been born much earlier, he would have needed to medevac to the States, where the equipment and medical technology are better. They were fine for his condition, but the NICU chief told us that if the babies are smaller than two pounds, it's more difficult for them, whereas in the States one-pound babies often do just fine. Also, make sure if you deliver in Colombia that you have your husband advocating for you," commented an expat living in Bogota, Colombia.

Expat Health Insurance in Colombia

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

What are medical services in Colombia like?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Colombia, they replied:

"We are very pleased with the healthcare system. We feel it is high quality, and much less expensive than in the US," commented an expat living in Medellin, Colombia.

"I have a carte blanche insurance policy in Colombia that covers my wife, our two daughters (who live in the US) and me for the low monthly fee of $300.00. No network, copay, deductible or pre existing condition nonsense either: the policy pays $100% of everything, period. Hospitals and clinics in Colombia are world renowned," said another expat in Medellin.

"We have a FULL Medical/Dental policy that costs us about $31 US dollars. My husband recently had an emergency when a bone from some soup got lodged in his throat. He went to the ER at our Clinic, was sent for X-Rays, they were unable to unlodge it. He was then sent to a specialist at the Hospital. They were finally able to get it out. TOTAL Co-Pay.. ZERO!!," remarked another in Cali.

"There is a vast difference between the lowest level of health insurance and the highest level. The difference is night and day. I have both a low level and high level. I pay $30/mth, SaludTotal low level, $250/mth AXAColpatria, high level. The lower level insurance is required by my high level insurance. With my AXAColpatria, the doctor will come to my house as a non-emergency first response," commented an expat living in Bucaramanga, Colombia.

"Pay the higher insurance premium to insure quicker access to specialists. Have at least a working knowledge of the language as most doctors speak no English. ," said another expat in .

What do you think about the cost of medical care in Colombia?

"Colombia is known for its high quality of private medical care and medical universities. Bucaramanga is well known for medical education and we have a plethora of hospitals and doctors. In my experience, prices are much cheaper here than the USA. eg. ACL surgery in the USA can run $60K to $80k, not including physical therapy. ACL surgery here is $5k including physical therapy," commented an expat living in Bucaramanga, Colombia.

What are emergency services like?

When we asked about emergency services, members in Colombia wrote:

"I live within 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on the hospital. The hospital connected to SaludTotal is Clinica de Bucaramanga/ Private. It is old, 2 people to a room, typically no soap in the public bathrooms and I have caught them using water to clean my arm for needle insertion. With AXAColpatria, International Hospital Colombia. New hospital equipped with the latest technology and loaded with specialists doctors. Private large rooms. Very nice, Fast attention with my insurance. I am treated as a VIP. ," commented an expat living in Bucaramanga, Colombia.

"There are three hospitals, approximately 10 -20 minutes away. All private hospitals," said another expat in Medellin.

"FOS-UNAB will be open soon and will be state of the art for Colombia. Will cater to foreign nationals who want good quality medical care at roughly half the price charged in the US. Other hospitals or clinics are run by the EPS'S or insurance entities while one or maybe two are "public" and who serve all comers. My EPS is SaludCoop, one of the country's largest but as with most, is having financial concerns, paying providers, causing a terrible cash flow problem with the hospitals. Politicians vow they will change the whole system putting it totally under government control Sound familiar?," remarked another expat in .

Are their specialists in the area or do you need to travel to see a specialist?

"My insurance is only good for Colombia. There are a multitude of available clinics/hospitals from the small towns to the big cities. My wife received decent care in a small town with SaludTotal for a ear infection.," commented an expat living in Bucaramanga, Colombia.

"As a member of SaludCoop, get same benefits wherever I go-in country. Most major cities have this EPS represented," said another expat in .

Are most prescription medications available in Colombia?

"Many USA prescriptions are over the counter in a multitude of pharmacies throughout the country. This is changing and medicines are coming under more control by the government. I pay $1/copay for my prescriptions. Most medicines I have needed are available here, either by prescription or over the counter. Prices for over the counter medicines are compared 2 to 10 times cheaper than the USA," commented an expat living in Bucaramanga, Colombia.

"Don't always need a prescription and medicine comparted to the US is really cheap," said another expat in Medellin.

"yes and no...I took Nexium in the US for many years. Here, I can only get the generic . but, it seems to work just as well. prescriptions or "formulas" as they are known here, are a joke, any pharmacy will sell you whatever you need as long as you have the money. Lots of the popular brand meds are not available here, such as Tums, Tylenol, but the local replacements once again, work well. meds are definitely not expensive.. My generic Nexium costs me 9.100 Colombian pesos a month...about $4.50 US," remarked another expat in .

"As one of the major cities in Colombia, Medellin has 7 or 8 major hospitals, with more than one being recognized for providing world class care in several specialties. Medical care should not be a major worry," commented an expat living in Medellin, Colombia.

Need health insurance in Colombia? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a Quote

Need health insurance in Colombia? William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

William Russell Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Pay the higher insurance premium to insure quicker access to specialists. Have at least a working knowledge of the language as most doctors speak no English.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Cartagena, Colombia
William Russell Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quotes for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
Get a Quote

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Our guide to healthcare in Colombia covers public and private healthcare in Colombia, hospitals, vaccinations, prescription medications and more.

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The healthcare system in Medellin, Colombia gets generally positive reviews from expats there. Find answers to questions about universal healthcare in Colombia, what it takes to get an EPS card and more.

The healthcare system in Medellin, Colombia gets generally positive reviews from expats there. Find answers to questions about universal healthcare in Colombia, what it takes to get an EPS card and m...

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Expats in Colombia share experiences with the Colombian healthcare system. Tips cover EPS, quality of medical care, hospital stays and more.

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Answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about healthcare and health insurance for expats in Colombia.

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An expat talks about health insurance, hospitals and the cost of medical care in Bucaramanga, Colombia. -

healthcare in MedellinHealthcare in Medellin, Colombia

An expat discusses healthcare and health insurance in Medellin, Colombia. There are several private hospitals in Medellin. He advises expats to purchase health insurance. -

healthcare in Healthcare in Colombia

Pay the higher insurance premium to insure quicker access to specialists. Have at least a working knowledge of the language as most doctors speak no English. -

healthcare surveyAnswer Questions about Healthcare in Colombia

Help others moving to Colombia by answering a set of questions about health insurance, public healthcare in Colombia, prescription medicine, quality of medical care and emergency services.

Having-a-Baby-In-ColombiaExpats Talk about What it's Like Having a Baby in Colombia

Read recent baby reports submitted for Monteria and Bogota.

If you're an expat parent who had a baby abroad, write a report about your childbirth experiences to help other expecting expat parents.

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