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What Sura Health Insurance Changes Mean to Expats

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Lately in the news, there has been alot of talk about reforms to the Healthcare system in Colombia. I have personally heard many rumors swirling around about this topic and how it can affect the expats in Colombia. I speak Spanish and even I am confused by this all, so I went to Diana Holguin of Optimo Consultores en Seguros for some insight on what is happening and how expats can navigate this maze. 

What do we know right now?

To be honest, we know very little about what the government is planning to do with changing the system. There have been many comments about President Gustavo Petro closing down EPS services in Colombia. The truth is that the four previous president administrations have closed down an average of 4 EPS providers during their term. This is not out of the normal way of doing business. The goal of this administration is to save money, and streamlining the EPS system is a focus of the President and Congress at this moment. 

The proposed changes are two fold; first they want to remove private intermediaries from EPS systems, which is essentially like a supplemental plan sold by the EPS provider. This has been a system that is hard for the government to hold accountable because they are not the ones paying for the service to these EPS providers. The government feels that these supplemental plans are being sold and the providers are not giving the services they are charging for. They are working to eliminate these plans now. 

They also want to eliminate the stresses on the hospitals by adding more triage type clinics, specifically in the rural areas. In the large cities, there are many options, but in rural Colombia, the system is overly stressed, which leads to less care for the population. Under the new plan, there will be a greater need for doctors and medical professionals, which is already a need in Colombia now. What is raising concerns with the Colombian population is that they are reportedly looking at bringing in Doctors from Venezuela and Cuba. This has not been confirmed by the government and is just chisme at this point. 

Just a small history lesson for those that don’t know, EPS was formed in the 90s and prior to that time, all public healthcare was overseen by the Colombian government under the name “Segura Social” and it was widely seen as a failed system. Upon the formation of the EPS system, health coverage improved patently. This was a change that was widely criticized, but has improved the health of Colombians. 

What Can Expats Expect?

According to Diana, the best thing for expats to do is to have your private health care plan. These will ensure that you are always covered, and the vast majority of hospitals will accept your private plan. If you have EPS and a supplemental plan such as SURA, the main change will be that your SURA plan will be renamed “Salud Para Todos” (Health for all) and there will likely be procedural changes, but as of now we have no information as to what changes will be made. 

“As of now, we have to be patient, the government is enacting changes to the system, this we know, but we’re not sure what the scope of these changes will be. It could be streamlining services, or it could be a complete reforming. We have to be patient for now.”, Diana told Medellin.co

What’s Next?

Well, to be honest, we must wait and see. I can tell you from personal experience, that the healthcare system here is a much different experience if you have private insurance. To be honest with you, most plans range from $175,000cop to $250,000cop monthly, considerably better than the cost of private healthcare in the US or Europe. Your coverage will most likely not be affected by whatever change the government makes.

If you do have EPS here and there are changes, it’s very important to pay attention to these changes, and if you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask. This is incredibly important to understand this completely. 

If you want to discuss your options for private insurance options, I recommend that you speak with Diana at Optimo Consultores en Seguros, she laid it all out for me in a very easy to understand way, she’s very knowledgeable and bilingual. You can reach them on Whatsapp at +573207277511 or on Instagram at @seguros_colombia_optimo or on Facebook at Optima Consultores en Seguros.

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