There is a social security system here that provides health care to anyone who has residency. However, the Social Security hospitals are so crowded and busy that few expatriates use them. To get an appointment with a doctor at a Social Security hospital, people come at four in the morning to stand in line. There are a number of fine private hospitals where you can get almost any service required. Many of the doctors have trained in the US or Europe. Doctor visits are inexpensive at $20-30. After being accustomed to the long forms of health information required when you visit a doctor in the US, it is a little confusing when a doctor in Ecuador just asks a few questions and keeps no notes. But, they are thorough and spend a long time with you not the few minutes spent by doctors in the US. There are health plans but they are notorious for not paying claims presented to them. Most of us don’t subscribe to health plans but prefer to pay-as-we-go. Medicines are cheap compared to the US. Pharmacies dispense antibiotics and many other medicines after you describe your symptoms. Almost everything but narcotics can be obtained without a prescription. Vitamins and over the counter medicines are available but not all you are familiar with. Bring what you need in large quantities of items like Nyquil or laxatives. Then you will have enough until you discover whether your medication is available or not. We have ordered on line and had items we cannot find here sent via the mail but it is quite an expensive way to go. It is often better to find a locally made medication that will substitute for the one you have been using.
A New Kind of Blog
There is a world of information about Ecuador. It is one of the most popular countries for people who want to retire to a place where the dollar goes much farther than in the US, a place for adventuresome families who want to experience a new language and exciting culture. However, much of what you read or hear does not touch on the practical, the problematic, or the local information necessary to make things work. There are many blogs which are basically daily diary’s from people who live here. But this blog will be different. We know how hard it is to get accurate and timely information. We have been through it. All of us who live here have learned step by step and we question whether it is necessary to have every newcomer reinvent the wheel. We hope this blog will help shorten the learning curve. There are many hurdles but all are surmountable. What is required is patience, an understanding of local ways, and a realization that you are going to live in a country which is not the same as the US, Canada, or Britain. Our choice was to live in the wonderful city of Cuenca in the Southern Sierra but this may not be your decision and you will therefore have to look further to find the answers you need for different areas like the coast or the Amazon. Please realize that all the suggestions and ideas are based on our experiences. Ecuadorian regulations change rapidly and must be checked before you make any investments or major decisions. Please email us at Sailorburr@gmail.com and let us know if you have any questions or comments.