International Living–Health Care Abroad: Excellent and Affordable
Although quality health care is available throughout Ecuador, you must keep in mind that many services may not be available in rural areas and the quality of health care may not be as good as in larger towns or cities.
Most expats and Ecuador living websites will tell you that Ecuador’s best medical services are offered in Quito, Cuenca, and Guayaquil. I will leave it up to you to agree on that, in the mean time, I will just let you know what locals do and I pretty much follow it.
It is common practice for doctors in other parts of Ecuador to refer seriously ill patients to hospitals and doctors in Guayaquil. In Guayaquil you will find high quality, low cost health care, but as anywhere else in the world finding it requires some due diligence and common sense.
We may consider Ecuador as a developing country; the truth is that you can get first-rate medical care here. Guayaquil holds the most progressive and open society, it is the largest and most service demanding local city, therefore, you will find that most local professionals are well educated and up to date on their specialties. Many doctors are educated in the U.S., Europe, Argentina, Chile, and Cuba, and receive continuing ed training around the world.
With the right choices, you will receive personal attention from medical practitioners not seen the U.S. And, you’ll pay some of the lowest prices in the world. In general, you can except to pay 10% to 25% of what you would in the U.S. for comparable services. For major surgery, involving longer periods of hospitalization, costs were even less than 10% of those in the U.S.
Health insurance is a bargain in Ecuador. A 55 year old man in the U.S. would pay a monthly premium of $1,100; in Ecuador he pays $86. A woman, age 50 to 60, would pay $77 for the same policy in Ecuador while coverage for a dependent child, between 2 and 17 years-of-age, costs $15.69 a month.
I will advise you to check local insurers since they all have their own policies that will apply. As in the U.S., the policies of major insurers consider pre-existing conditions and require that you sign-up for coverage before you reach the age of 70 (some companies require sign-up by age 65).
Some expats do not opt to take on any health insurance since per services are not expensive. That will be your decision to make depending on your budget and risk factor. Keep in mind that U.S. Medicare will not provide coverage out of the country.
One extra option could be alternative health care in Ecuador. On per capita basis, Ecuadorians use alternative services much more frequently than North Americans or Europeans. You will find well established practitioners of homeopathic and naturopathic medicine in Guayaquil by the Coast of Ecuador.