Global Health Insurance for Expats in Ecuador
Topping the list at number 1, Ecuador is an increasingly popular international retirement destination according to International Living. Ecuador’s unit of currency is the US dollar, which has a purchasing power parity of $.66 according to the United Nations. In other words, what would cost a dollar in the US would cost $.66 in Ecuador. That being said, it is no wonder why Ecuador would become the new retirement haven where individuals can live comfortably on their retirement investments and pensions.
As more individuals decide to relocate to Ecuador, it is important to understand your Ecuador expatriate health options. Ecuador instituted universal health care to provide free services to its residence. Currently, the program provides free doctor visits, basic surgeries, and medication. These services, while available, have been overwhelmed by popular demand resulting in long lines and scaled-back services. Many facilities are currently underfunded and cannot provide services for more expensive medications and surgeries.
The Ministry of Public Health is the department overseeing the implementation of universal health care, which is said to provide coverage to approximately 30 percent of the population. One major problem underlining this statistic is the geography coupled with infrastructure. Before leaving to Ecuador, it is important to investigate nearby facilities especially if the location is remote. The more developed cities, such as Quito and Guayaquil, have hospitals with highly trained professionals and well-equipped facilities. In more remote locations, it is not uncommon to travel to larger cities for suitable treatment.
To give you an idea, there are 1.5 doctors per 1,000 people (compared to the United States with 5.5 doctors per 1,000 people) with 66% of the total population living in urban areas. As these numbers reflect, you will want to consider your location and how this may affect your access to health care. In urban areas, problems with accessibility are primarily centralized in the public sector – whereas wait time can be reduced and higher quality health care can be found in the private sector for an additional fee. In order to be prepared, you will want to make sure that your Ecuador expatriate health insurance covers you in private clinics and hospitals. This is key – especially if you do not want to be one of the many waiting for care.
According to the State Department, it is recommended that you have Ecuador travel medical insurance even for short trips. Whether you plan to retire in Ecuador or travel as a tourist, you will want to look into suitable Ecuador health insurance plans. While looking at different options, you will want a plan that will cover you for:
- Local transportation in case you need to be transported inside the country
- Emergency evacuation transporting you internationally
- Medical treatment at a private facility
These are important points to review, even if universal health care is available in Ecuador. When going abroad, you will want to evaluate your Ecuador expatriate health insurance options to ensure that you are fully covered for the expected- as well as the unexpected.
A popular option for those looking Ecuador health insurance is the Cigna Global Medical Insurance which will cover you for hospitalization, doctor visits, prescriptions, emergency medical evacuation, local ambulance, and repatriation. This expatriate plan will cover you internationally – including in Ecuador – and you can also have coverage back in your home country. When traveling abroad, the ability to make choices is important- especially when it comes to your health.