Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Health Insurance Part II

         Medical Insurance in Ecuador – Part Two
                     Policy We Purchased & Why
We may be typical of healthy North American Expadorians nearing retirement, so here is our thinking. I am 62 and Sue has fewer laps around the sun (late 50's). We take no serious medications nor have pre-existing conditions. Economy, some US coverage, quality of carrier (and agent), and continuation past 70 are priorities.
Policies with several agents were considered. Now for the boring, but important details by insurer.
Pan American offered a high end international policy with full US coverage at US medical cost reimbursement within their US network. Unlimited maximum coverage. However, cost was over $600+/month. Since our annual time in NC will be well under the 90 days allowed by our Cedula, we will skip the nuances.
Best Doctors offered a similar plan.
Humana offered a tempting variety of plans which changed by the time of our purchase decision. Policies and prices change here like in the fast moving US marketplace. However, you had to buy the expensive underlying "first dollar" coverage to be eligible for the catastropic coverage.
Salud won us over with a combination of features and policies. Their separate cancer plan has no deductible, continues in force throughout our lifetime, with unlimited maximum coverage. Cost $17.50 monthly apiece. So we can live to 100 and get inflation proof coverage (unless they change the policy).  You know, nothing is guaranteed forever!   A six month waiting period applies before coverage kicks in.
We skipped the first dollar, small co-pay plan that would cover the first $11,000 of claims due to the cost and our risk tolerance.
Our final choice was a $10,000 deductible with $128,500 in coverage with $55,000 accidental death insurance. Total premium for us both is $98/month. Coverage is reduced to 30% at age 70. Who knows what Medicare or private care will look like in even a few years?
Yes, a waiting period of 3 months for hospitalization; immediate coverage for accident or emergencies. And you may use any hospital. US coverage is paid at Ecuadoran medical costs (20% to 40%  US costs) - a common provision in Ecuador.

We may later add a small first dollar plan to assist in the first $10,000 in claims exposure. Meanwhile, office visits average $25 in Cuenca.
Future postings:
* A new plan offered by Banco Pichincha and Santa Ines Hospital
* Coopera's new small claim, first dollar coverage for $2.62 in monthly premium
* Homeowners coverage; earthquake, theft, etc.
           Salud,    Gary