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Friday, September 28, 2012

Will the real Colombian health care please stand up?

Now that I officially have "real" Colombian healthcare (EPS) I wanted to write this blog. Here in Colombia there is roughly 48 million people and there is not many social problems like unemployment insurance,social security etc. But, they do have socialized healthcare for everyone. A system very similar to Canada or England I would assume. I now have personal experience with this health care system. There is long waiting times and the government provided healthcare moves for slow. That is true and is a fact. Now for the upside.

The upside is that EVERYONE has healthcare. You do pay a very small monthly premium but when you go into the doctor,hospital,dentist, eye doctor or other medical facility pay basically $1.25 USD (Yes you read that right, it is a dollar twenty-five)except in very special cases. A few days ago I went to the doctor and paid my $1.25 then after waiting quite a while I had my physical exam and the doctor was very nice and actually spoke English. I really got the feeling he cared about me as a patient and he said I am totally healthy except that I am underweight due to my previous tonsillitis I have lost quite a bit of weight. Eating and eating will solve that he said. He did order a urine sample and a blood test just to make sure everything was totally fine. Then I went and paid $1.25 for my medicine.

I assumed I would do all that the same day but I was wrong. I had to pay another $1.25 and make yet another appointment to get those tests done on another day. I also had to buy my own urine sample cup and do it at home and bring my own urine in the cup that I bought (for a quarter) to the doctor! Can you believe that?! haha. When they drew my blood it was all sanitary and clean and they did use new needles. No worries there. But, it was like an assembly line! Everyone was lined up in a line, got your stick in the arm, then the next person, and next, and next. Government efficiency lol. I didn't even get a bandaid! Just a giant cotton ball haha. Also, all the workers were dressed in full "splatter gear" like they expected blood to be everywhere haha.

I also went to a brain doctor to make sure my shunt was working properly but I had scheduled this appointment before I had received my government covered insurance (EPS) so I had to pay the outrageous fee of $20 USD :P. Everything was good there also. Luckily I had my beautiful girlfriend Vivi there to help me out. My Spanish is pretty decent at this point but, I still get tripped up with complicated stuff and the doctor spoke only Spanish. Vivi by now knows my body just as well as I know it so she can rattle off everything faster than I ever could. I had four female medical students in there also. I guess it is pretty rare that they get a "gringo" brain to look at. 

The dentist was a totally different story. After I paid my $1.25 I went back to wait. This time I was alone as Vivi had an interview. They were 30 minutes late in calling my name and when I finally got in there I found out that the dentist had a REALLY hard accent to understand. Communication was really difficult for me. The "cleaning" was quite quick and really basic. I had to hold the mirror the whole time and there was not many powered instruments. Most of it was done manually by hand. I was not too impressed by it. She did say what I assume? was that I have my first "very small" (her words) cavity in my life! She wants to see me again and charge me yet another $1.25. Well if I really do have small cavity at least I can get it all taken care of on the cheap.

In Conclusion, Colombian National Healthcare is pretty good, I have not been overly disappointed but there is long waiting times and you have to keep coming back over and over and getting more and more appointments. But, on the brightside each time it is just a $1.25. I cannot complain too much about that. Yall take care and I hope this was informative. -Tyler


  1. No monthly fee in Canada Our healthcare is funded largely through alcohol and cigarette taxes. But also through a portion of income tax. Everyone is covered as well. But vision and dental are not covered. Sounds pretty decent here.

    1. Overall I was pretty pleased. it is not so bad, not amazing but certainly not bad.