When I was in Cuenca many expats that I spoke to did not carry any health insurance. The reasoning was that medical care costs are so low in Ecuador compared with the United States, that expats chose to pay out of their pockets for any expenses. Out-of-pocket expenses were viewed as more desirable than spending $9,000.00 to $12,000.00 annually for single or family plans in the U.S.A. I know from my conversations with expats in Cuenca that there have been surgeries which have cost $4,000.00 to $5,000.00--a fraction of what the expense would have been in the the United States. Yet, what if someone has a really serious accident or is diagnosed with cancer, where either incident might involve long-term care or rehabilitation? I would think that a $100,000 claim in the United States, for example, could still run $20,000.00 to $30,000.00 in Ecuador--not exactly a small piece of change.
Therefore, I am seeking a policy with a high deductible which not only covers me while in Ecuador, but also when I visit the United States until I am eligible for medicare. It is my understanding that when I am eligible for Medicare, that Medicare will not cover expenses outside the United States, unless one is a volunteer(however that is defined)in another country. However, Medicare would cover me while I am visiting in the states.
Connie Pombo recently had a post where she procured health insurance through Humana, but she mainly spoke of the insurance in its use for prescription drugs. Otherwise little detail was provided. Connie, if you are reading this, I would appreciate more information as your health insurance relates to hospitalization, out-patient, pre-existing conditions, etc. I attempted to email you, but then your email disappeared on me, and I couldn't find it again on wherever I initially saw it. When I tried to contact you by Facebook, your name would snap off every time I typed it into the message form. (Sorry Connie, I truly believe that somewhere out there among the constellations is a negative vibe between me and technology.) I also googled Humana in Ecuador, (which was the company mentioned by Connie). Currently I am waiting for some price estimates from some international insurance companies. I will share what I learn as I procure this information.
For those of you who are expats, I find the question of health insurance is rarely addressed in the blogs. I have received post comments and emails seeking information over this topic, so I know there is a great deal of interest out there over health insurance coverage in Ecuador. If anyone has a policy with a company you believe is trustworthy, we sure would appreciate some feedback either on your blog posts or via email to me. I have read accounts that Ecuadorian health insurance companies often will not pay on large claims. I have no idea how accurate that claim is. However, it is one reason of concern why I am looking at international insurance companies.