Retiring In Colombia: 10 Things To Know About Healthcare – TravelAwaits

Retiring In Colombia: 10 Things To Know About Healthcare – TravelAwaits

Colombia is quickly becoming one of the most popular spots in the world for expats. Once considered a destination for only the most adventurous backpackers, Colombia has changed significantly in the past 30 years. Now, everyone from retirees to digital nomads to international consultants is flocking to Colombia. Crime has sharply decreased and healthcare standards have vastly improved. If you decide to relocate, here’s what you should know about the country’s evolving healthcare system.

1. Colombia Has A Strong Healthcare System

Colombia enjoys one of the best public healthcare systems in the world. The World Health Organization ranks it as the 22nd most efficient in the world.

2. It’s A System That’s Continuing To Improve 

Colombia’s healthcare system hasn’t always been so strong. Over the past 40 years, health standards have grown significantly. One of the most important changes was the 1993 reform to transform how public healthcare was funded. These reforms stemmed in part from changes to the national constitution earlier in 1991. During that time, a piece of legislation known as Law 100 was implemented. An article of Law 100 mandated that health insurance be compulsory, that providers must have administrative autonomy, and that patients must have free choice among providers. As such, it’s widely credited with spearheading the important changes that have made Colombia’s healthcare system what it is today. 

Since then, employees and employers alike have been obligated to pay into health plans. Today, approximately 97 percent of Colombians have healthcare coverage as a result.

3. Colombia Has Been Serving Expats For A Long Time

Colombian doctors are long familiar with treating expats and retirees. Physicians receive an excellent education and many complete a part of their training abroad. It’s common for physicians to be bilingual in Spanish and English. Additionally, the country is well regarded as a destination for cosmetic surgery. As such, it’s common for health clinics to specialize in serving the foreign market. 

4. The Healthcare System Operates A Public Health Insurance Plan

Colombia’s healthcare system operates a public health insurance plan called EPS (Entidades Promotoras de Salud). All employees contribute a percentage of their wages to the Sistema General de Seguridad Social en Salud (SGSSS, the social security program). They then select the public (or more pricey private) insurance provider of their choice that’s registered with the system. 

Overall, the system offers widespread coverage that’s affordable and easy to use. However, it’s worth noting that complaints about corruption are commonplace. 

5. Costs Are Kept Low For Patients

In general, healthcare in Colombia is very affordable. About 20 percent of government spending is directed towards healthcare. As well, approximately 5 percent of Colombia’s GDP is related to healthcare. This level of investment has everyday costs for patients affordable. 

The EPS is available to all residents at a low cost. For instance, the premium for retirees is 12 percent of declared pension income. As well, there is no maximum age limit to apply for EPS coverage.

Under the EPS public health insurance system, there is a three-tiered payment system for co-payments based on income. …….


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