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Colombia Health Insurance

Living in, traveling to, or planning to move to Colombia? Pacific Prime Latin America can help you secure locally compliant health insurance.

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Health insurance in Colombia 

If you’re living in, traveling to, or planning to move to Colombia, then you’ll naturally want to get to grips with Colombia’s healthcare system and figure out a Colombia health insurance plan. You don’t have to look far as this guide will shed light on all things Colombia, healthcare, and health insurance. Read on to learn more, or click below to receive an instant, obligation-free quote!

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About Colombia 

The Republic of Colombia or Colombia is a Latin American country located in northwestern South America, bordered by Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. It covers an area of 1.1 million square kilometers and has a population of 50 million people, most of whom are concentrated in the mountainous interior - which is also where Bogota, the capital city, is situated on a high plateau in the northern Andes Mountains. Colombia’s cultural heritage has been influenced by many Amerindian civilizations, European settlements, and enslaved Africans, as well as migration from Europe and the Middle East. The official language is Spanish, and 70+ languages are spoken. 

Healthcare system in Colombia 

Expats and tourists are usually concerned about the healthcare system when going to a new country, but these concerns aren’t warranted when it comes to Colombia. The country is home to an excellent healthcare system. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Colombia has the 22nd most efficient healthcare system in the world - above many Western countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, and more, In fact, some of the best hospitals in Latin America are located in Colombia - in particular, Medellin, the second largest city in the country, is known for cosmetic and transplant surgery. 

Healthcare in Colombia is not just of high quality, but it’s also very affordable. In addition, Colombian citizens and legal residents (including expats) have access to universal healthcare coverage, which came to be after the 1993 reform, which transformed the structure of universal public healthcare funding. There are two types of medical coverage available in Colombia: Entidades Promotoras de Salud (EPS) and private health insurance. Let’s find out more about each of the systems, and the options that expats have. 

Entidades Promotoras de Salud (EPS)

EPS is the public health insurance system, administered by a number of insurance companies including SURA, Comfenalco, and Coomeva, who then refer insured individuals to a network of participating healthcare providers. The system is mandatory for all legal residents and is available at a low cost. For example, employees pay 12.5% of their gross monthly income to the EPS (those employed by a Colombian company only pay about 4% as the company pays the rest), whilst retirees pay 12% of their declared pension income. In addition, there’s no maximum age limit to apply for coverage. 

Expats and their families are also eligible, as long as they hold a Colombian ‘cedula’ (resident ID). But unlike Colombian citizens, expats can opt out as long as they show proof of coverage through another healthcare plan. This is a popular option with many expats, as this guide outlines in the next section. For tourists and short-term travelers to Colombia, who aren’t eligible for the EPS, private health insurance or travel health insurance is also highly recommended to cover any unexpected costs. 

Private health insurance 

Private health insurance is a popular option with many expats because it widens the choices of facilities and treatments. While the standard of care is generally excellent in urban areas like Bogota, Medellin, and Cali, there can be significant discrepancies in the quality of care when it comes to more rural areas, where health coverage is more limited. In addition, private health insurance also enables expats to get treatment in private facilities, which in itself brings a number of benefits like shorter wait times, access to better amenities, and comfort, as well as English-speaking doctors and medical professionals. 

Medical evacuation 

While most visits and stays in Colombia - especially in developed and urban areas, occur without incident, there’s a higher risk of accidents, illnesses, and unforeseen incidents if you plan to venture deep into the biodiverse jungles or explore the high altitudes of the mountainous Andes. It might not be possible to receive the care you need in these areas and you may have to be transported to the nearest location for treatment. This can be incredibly expensive, especially if you need an air ambulance.

In these cases, it’s worth securing an international health insurance plan that includes emergency medical evacuation. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t need to pay out of pocket for air ambulances and will have the assistance of insurance providers when it comes to arranging the transport. What’s more, having international coverage is also useful if the care you require isn’t available in Colombia, and you need to go abroad to the USA or other nearby countries for treatment. For example, Miami, Florida is just a short flight away by plane or helicopter. 

Colombia vaccination guidance and travel tips 

Are you making a trip to Colombia any time soon? The first step is to get the required vaccinations prior to your trip - especially for tropical diseases that are quite prevalent in jungles and rural areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the WHO recommend the following vaccinations for Colombia, and we’ve also included a list of routine vaccinations that should be considered. That being said, it’s worth checking with your general practitioner (GP) for personalized advice and recommendations. 

Colombia vaccinations:

  1. Hepatitis A 

  2. Hepatitis B 

  3. Typhoid 

  4. Yellow fever 

  5. Rabies 

  6. Meningitis 

  7. Polio 

  8. Measles 

  9. Mumps and rubella (MMR) 

Routine vaccinations:

  1. Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) 

  2. Chickenpox 

  3. Shingles 

  4. Pneumonia 

  5. Influenza

  6. COVID-19

Other travel tips to keep in mind are to be streetwise and avoid flashing valuables or expensive brand names, as this may make you a victim of petty crime and theft. You should also avoid taking cash out in places where it’s dark, quiet, or neglected, as these ATMs are more likely to be tampered with. What’s more, don’t be fooled by plain-clothed policemen who ask for money or request to inspect your passport on the streets, and learn some basic Spanish to boost your confidence and minimize the likelihood of being taken advantage of as a foreigner. 

Secure a Colombia health insurance plan today!

To find and secure a localized private health insurance plan, you’re more than welcome to get in touch with Pacific Prime Latin America. We have a number of vetted Colombia health insurance plans, and can match you to one that meets your exact needs and budget. This may involve customization of your policies to give you a range of additional benefits such as coverage for outpatient treatments, dental, vision, and maternity, as well as complementary medicines, specialist consultations, alternative therapies, and emergency medical evacuation

Get in touch with a member of our team to find out more and start your insurance journey!

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