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Colombia Health Insurance: The End of SURA?

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The Progressive Dismantling Program, a legal mechanism enabling an orderly and diligent withdrawal from the health system, aims to ensure a coordinated transition for EPS Sura’s members while maintaining continuity of care and protecting the company’s technical reserves. Juana Francisca Llano, president of Suramericana, attributed the decision to the health system’s structural difficulties and insufficient resource allocation, leading to significant net losses for EPS Sura in recent years.

As the National Health Superintendency considers EPS Sura’s request, the company has assured its members that services and care will continue uninterrupted. Appointments, treatments, and medical care will operate as usual, and those with a Health Policy will maintain their current coverage and benefits. EPS Sura has also set up various attention lines across major cities to address member concerns.

The progressive dismantling program, if approved, will allow EPS Sura to manage its obligations to clinics, IPS, and hospitals while ensuring an orderly transfer of its members to other healthcare providers. The company’s decision to request withdrawal comes amidst ongoing challenges in Colombia’s health system, with insufficient resources and historic underfunding compromising its sustainability.

EPS Sura’s announcement follows a similar request by Compensar EPS, another major health insurance provider, indicating a growing trend of insurers struggling to operate within the current system. The company’s decision not to pursue the role of a health and life management company, as proposed by the government, suggests that the proposed reforms do not adequately address the system’s structural problems.

As the situation unfolds, the impact on EPS Sura’s five million members and the broader healthcare system remains a primary concern. The company’s withdrawal could lead to a significant restructuring of the health insurance market, with other providers stepping in to fill the void. However, the transition process may prove challenging, particularly for those with ongoing treatments or complex medical needs.

The announcement has sent shockwaves through the healthcare sector, with many speculating about the future of health insurance in Colombia. As the government and relevant authorities work to address the system’s challenges, it is crucial to ensure that the needs of patients and healthcare providers are prioritized. The coming months will be critical in determining the path forward for Colombia’s healthcare system and the millions who depend on it.

About Sura in Colombia

Sura is one of the largest and most well-established health insurance providers in Colombia, operating within the General Social Security Health System. As an EPS (Entidad Promotora de Salud), Sura focuses on the affiliation of individuals and the management of financial and health risks. With over five million members, Sura plays a significant role in Colombia’s healthcare landscape, offering a wide range of services, including appointments, treatments, and medical care.

What to expect if Sura shuts down in Colombia

If Sura’s request for withdrawal is approved, its five million members will need to be transitioned to other healthcare providers in an orderly manner. This process may lead to some disruptions in care, particularly for those with ongoing treatments or complex medical needs. Members may need to navigate new systems, providers, and processes, which could cause confusion and anxiety.

In the short term, there may be increased pressure on other healthcare providers to absorb Sura’s members, potentially leading to longer wait times and reduced access to care. The government and relevant authorities will need to work closely with the remaining healthcare providers to ensure a smooth transition and maintain the quality and accessibility of healthcare services.

In the long term, Sura’s withdrawal could lead to a restructuring of the health insurance market in Colombia, with other providers stepping in to fill the void. This may result in changes to the available plans, benefits, and costs for individuals seeking health insurance. The government may also need to reassess its approach to healthcare funding and reform to address the structural challenges that led to Sura’s decision to withdraw.

Alternative healthcare providers for foreigners living in Medellin

Foreigners living in Medellin have several options for healthcare beyond Sura. Some alternative providers include:

  1. Colsanitas: A well-established EPS with a strong presence in Medellin, offering a range of health plans and services.
  2. Coomeva: Another major EPS operating in Medellin, providing comprehensive healthcare services and insurance plans.
  3. Medimas: A growing EPS with a focus on technology and innovation in healthcare delivery.
  4. Sanitas: An international healthcare provider with a presence in Medellin, offering private health insurance plans and access to a network of clinics and hospitals.
  5. Private insurance: Foreigners may also opt for private health insurance plans, which can provide more extensive coverage and access to a wider range of healthcare providers.

When choosing an alternative healthcare provider, foreigners should consider factors such as the level of coverage, the quality of care, the provider network, and the cost of premiums. It may also be helpful to consult with local healthcare experts or expat communities to gather insights and recommendations based on individual needs and preferences.

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.

3 Responses

  1. Your article isn´t really clear on one point. When you speak of the “end of SURA”, you are referring to SURA’s participation in EPS, or the private insurance company as well?

    1. EPS Sura. I made the title little too dramatic. Sura will still be offering Private Insurance. If you have specific questions you can contact Diana she will be able to answer any specific questions about health insurance policies.

  2. I was of the impression that COOMEVA EPS was no longer in service. Their Prepagada service is still operating.
    Did they begin EPS operations again?

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