Aside from the lower cost of living discussed in my last post about Retiring in Ecuador, there are four more reasons in Amber Payne’s “Top 5 Reasons to Retire in Ecuador” for considering this South American country as a retirement destination. One of great importance to seniors is healthcare.
Payne cites a webpage by International Living Magazine to say that “Ecuador reportedly offers high-quality healthcare at a fraction of the cost in the U.S.” International Living says that many of the specialist doctors in Ecuador were trained in the States or Europe and that surgery and hospital stays are well below the costs of U.S. medical care. It claims that Ecuador’s “high standard of dentistry” is extremely reasonable as well.
Payne’s article claims that medications are also far cheaper. International Living Magazine states that many medications requiring a prescription in the U.S. are over-the-counter in Ecuador and that generic drugs are widely available. However, on the GringosAbroad website, in an article on why some people decide not to move to Ecuador, the writer points to a particular couples’ situation: “Andy also had some trouble finding a particular prescription medication that he needs to take on a regular basis.”
The International Living website says that hospitals in larger cities have “state-of-the-art equipment” and provides some example comparisons between the U.S. costs and Ecuador’s for healthcare. I don’t know how current these quotes are, however.
The IL website claims that “smaller cities also have private clinics and hospitals that are clean, modern, and contain knowledgeable staff.” However, an ex-pat commenter on Expat Exchange writes that care in a more remote area is “often very limited or non-existent,” but in the larger cities, the hospitals are “excellent and offer quality care.” One ex-pat feels that the level and quality of care in Ecuador is better than that in the U.S. “The lower cost is just another bonus available to the patient.”
A 2016 article on the website CuencaHighLife also states that health care “is a bargain in Ecuador.” The website lists some actual surgery and hospital costs that sound more like deductibles on an American health insurance plan.
However, if still wary about health costs, getting private insurance is another option. According to International Living, “Health insurance is a bargain in Ecuador.” CuencaHighLife also affirms that private insurance in Ecuador is extremely reasonable.
On the Expat Exchange forum, some ex-pats recommend getting Ecuador’s government medical insurance, which one commenter in 2016 said was about $70/mo. This website’s healthcare forums provide further information on this government insurance. And CuencaHighLife provides additional details about this comprehensive government social security insurance plan, recently made available to ex-pats as “voluntary members.” Ecuador also has another limited level of free public healthcare open to everyone, even foreigners.
Regarding this post and my previous post on Retiring in Ecuador, it is becoming rather apparent that armed with research beforehand, it is a good idea to plan a couple weeks in Ecuador to check out all these and other important considerations about relocating there.
Three more of the top 5 reasons to retire in Ecuador – accessibility to and from the U.S. and Canada, beauty and climate, and the charm of Ecuador – are yet to come!
As an aside, I am finding the GringosAbroad website a really good resource for getting an honest account of all the various aspects of a move to Ecuador. The comment sections are really helpful in understanding what people want and need to know about making this move.