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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Free Health Insurance for Seniors in Ecuador? Not so fast. May 2014.

From Ecuador forum
I've read that if you are 55 and over you get free health insurance once you get your visa and cedula. How true is this?

For voluntary affiliation in the IESS (Instituto Ecuatoriano del Seguro Social), for your $75 per month, you will ill get free Health Care, but you will NOT GET ANY PENSION , since you will have not contributed the 40 income periods required to qualify for a pension.
But here are the caveats with the IESS:
Don't expect any prompt or even great quality care at the specialist level at the IESS. The IESS is in dire financial straits. Too few doctors and too many patients and not enough resources. the lines are long and the wait times are even longer. The physicians are obligated to work an 8 hour shift and most doctors not in management positions are paid less than $2000 per month. They have a quota on how many patients they must see per hour (as a measure of their productivity) and they get reprimanded if they are too slow. Consequently there is a lot of physician absenteeism, and you may not get an appointment to see a specialist doctor for several months due to over-scheduling. And often when you show up at the appointed time and date, it is not unusual for the specialist to be "sick" or absent that day. Now you need to reschedule, and that is a nightmare.
So things, are not as rosy at the IESS.
The IESS pharmacies are often out of precisely the medicines you were prescribed, so you will need to buy them at the local pharmacies at market prices. I could go on...

Additionally, there has been a backlash in the EC press recently among the local Ecuadorians when they see what they perceive as "rich gringo pelucones", taking advantage of the people's IESS benefits and taking up resources that were meant for the poorer class of working Ecuadorians." In Ecuador the people using the IESS services are the poorer class. The middle class-and-up Ecuadorians all use private health care through their employer group health insurance policy.
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