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Colombia has a better healthcare system than the U.S. and Canada

Colombia has a better healthcare system than the U.S. and Canada

Colombia has a better healthcare system than the U.S. and Canada

Healthcare in Colombia is both high quality and affordable. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia's healthcare system as number 22 out of the 191 countries they review. That is better than Canada, which ranks number 30, and the U.S., which ranks number 37.

There are many excellent hospitals and clinics located throughout Colombia that provide both general and specialized medical services. Half of the top 43 hospitals in Latin America are in Colombia (22 out of 43). The larger cities of Bogotá, Medellín, and Bucaramanga have hospitals which have received the Joint Commission International accreditation.

While speaking Spanish certainly helps, it will not prevent you from receiving excellent care. Many hospitals in the large and medium-sized cities have either English speaking staff, or a certified translation department.

Any expat not over the age of 60 with a resident cédula (national ID card) can apply for the government health insurance EPS (Entidades Promotoras de Salud). Even if you have pre-existing conditions, you can be accepted into the plan. These conditions may be excluded for a short period of time—six months or so—but then will be covered in full. Retirees pay a premium equal to 12% of their income. Many expats report monthly premiums in the $70 to $85 range for a couple.

Co-pays for the public health plan are based on a three-tiered system with the mid-range price costing about $3. These co-pays apply to laboratory tests, x-rays, and prescription medications.

Private health insurance is an option for people over the age of 60 or as a supplemental plan to your EPS public coverage. Coomeva, for example, offers a private health insurance plan for people up to the age of 85. Premiums will be significantly lower than what a couple would pay in the U.S. Of course they vary depending on the carrier you choose, the level of coverage you want, and your age and health at time of application.

If you decide to pay-as-you-go and not get health insurance, that can be done easily too. Prices for procedures, office visits, and medications are much lower than in the U.S. For example, an hour-long consultation with a specialist costs about $50. – Nancy Kiernan

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