If you are living in Colombia and have no clue how the health insurance system works or you’re interested in travel insurance, then you are in the right place!
For me, health insurance in Colombia was very different from what I used to know back in my home country. It offers great service and in some cases, it’s not that expensive. The price will vary depending on the insurance you get, the members you affiliate and the type of career or work you have.
Here I explain all you need to know before getting it!
The first thing you should know about is the “EPS, Entidad Promotora de Salud” (HPE, Health Promotion Entity) that exists in Colombia, which is in charge of providing public health services to the population, including medical consultation, hospitals, emergencies, and others. Normally, if you are working for a company, your contract will say that they pay for this health service for your family (partner, sons, and people under your care) and you. But since is an obligation to have it while you are living here, you can get it by contacting any “EPS” (HPE) of your choice. You have a long list of options (I will put the most common down below) and remember you will need your visa status up-to-date and the price will be a percentage based on your salary.
To use your “EPS,” you have to make an appointment through their website and they automatically will send you to the general medicine area, who then will refer you to a specialist. This process will be fast depending on your needs. Yes, it sounds complicated, but actually, it’s very organized and also very punctual, which doesn´t work for me because I always arrive 2 minutes late! But I know from friends that their service works very well for them and they don’t require private health insurance at all.
You also have the option of private health insurance, which you can only get if you have already an “EPS” (some of the business advisors from private institutions can do this procedure for you). After my experience with “EPS,” what I really appreciate about the private health insurance is that it works how I am used to, without following a protocol like “EPS” does, and the second reason is the price. The cost of a medical consultation with this health insurance is one-third of what it would cost without insurance. For example, the first visits to a dermatologist without private health insurance can cost around $180.000 COP ($65 USD approximately), but having a private insurance plan it will cost just $30.000 COP ($10 USD approximately), so it’s a big deal!
Now, how does private insurance work?
When you start your research for a private insurance company, an advisor will offer you a plan based on your requirements. When you choose one, you will be ready to make your first appointment. For this, you can use their website or an app on your cell phone and schedule it with the doctor or specialist you want/need, and that’s it! Additionally, every private insurance group has something to distinguish themselves, so it will be a little difficult to choose among them.
Here is a list of health insurances in Colombia to consider. All insurances, whether they are public or private, are able to assist you, so feel free to call them:
Colsanitas: 01 8000 979 020 / www.colsanitas.com
Mapfre: 01 8000 519 991 / www.mapfre.com.co
Sanitas: 01 8000 919 100 / www.epssanitas.com
Sura: 01 8000 518 888 / www.segurossura.com.co
Looking for Travel Insurance?
In this case, you have many options. You can ask for travel insurance service within your current health insurance company back in your country. According to your trip, they will give you all the documents you need if something happens (not only for you but also for any lost documents). But, if you forgot and you are already in Colombia you can call your insurance or go for another plan with almost any travel agency. Here are some agencies and insurance companies that offer this service:
Assist Card: 01 8000 112 773 / www.assistcard.com
Despegar.com: 01 80000 113 915 / www.despegar.com.co
Colasistencia: +57 (1) 742 8117 / www.colasistencia.net
Aseguratuviaje.com: +57 (1) 382 6762 / www.aseguratuviaje.com.co
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