Health insurance

Hello my husband and I will be retiring in Colombia in about 3 years, I will be 64 years of age and my husband will be 70 + how difficult is it to get health insurance in Colombia like Cisben,  Emermedicas and others that have been recommended to us given our age? any input would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,


Yeah, whatever.

I recommend that you use one of the following sponsored insurance providers for the entire duration of your retirement in Colombia. … rance.html

Very hard, maybe not impossible, usually to get into the goverment EPS system you would have to been affiliated before you turn 60 years old. After that there is medicina prepagada and that's expensive. Also the new president is planning revamping the whole health system this years so who knows what's going to happen to the current health system we'll have to wait and see.

@N.Barley these are very very expensive minimum $500 us a month I myself can not afford this and need a better solution for coverage I'm trying to get my M visa now

N.Barley these are very very expensive minimum $500 us a month I myself can not afford this and need a better solution for coverage I'm trying to get my M visa now



What is affordable for a person on Social Security? Nearly $200 of my check every month is deducted to pay my Medicare Part B in America. Medicare pays 80% but the cost of healthcare in the US can make the 20% like 100% here. Or more. Maybe $150 a month would be fair and affordable. We are in Mexico at the moment wondering if our dream of living in Colombia is over due to the insurance requirement. Life ain't fair, is it?

Telling me to “go away” is hardly a kind or helpful response. A better response might be “you should have extended your visa and tried to get more accurate information” or “here are some resources you should investigate about insurance before you give up.”  My post was to invite anyone who had any clear specific information that might be useful in these uncertain times to share it. We are a plane ride away in Mexico trying to return. I want to say something negative because you hurt my feelings but I think expats all have to work together and listen to each other to create the best community in Colombia. Who knows? I might really like you if I got to know you.

Tortoise, your dreams of Colombia don't have

to disappear completely even if EPS requirements

have become onerous for visa holders.

By staying in Colombia fewer than 180 days

last year (178 by my count) on tourist stamps,

I managed to avoid health care requirements

(I have inexpensive IESS coverage and

permanent residency rights in Ecuador) as

well as any possibility that Colombia could

lay claim to tax my worldwide income for 2022.

it's the day of the Snowbird.  Are you in?

cccmedia in Bucaramanga, Santander

I dont know where the idea that being over 60 you cant get EPS but can go on Medicina Prepagada came up.

If anything the opposite is true. It would be extremely difficult to get Medicina prepagada at that age.

And at least up until very recently at least ( and  as of today,I have only heard rumours otherwise on this site ), it has been  REQUIRED to have EPS PRIOR to enrolling in Medicine prepagada , although I did it with just a passport , but that was 10 years ago.

However, normaly you need a visa and cédula to get EPS, although once I was offered it with only a salvoconducto, but without getting a Visa, or or previous visA  It would be very diffiicult  if not impossible.

And that is anther issue. An M type pensionada visa is getting more and more difficult to get.

Costs have gone up, the time they have to approve your visa has gone up and they want more and more documents verifying your income and maybe even a police report, all translated to Spanish, plus  evidence of health insurance.

Plus, they have been mostly approving for a year, so you have to go through the same process every year.

And they are approving them less and less. Now they can keep the $400 fee and not give you the Visa, no matter how many years and how many visas you have had previously. This has happened to several people recently..and they give no reason. Before there was incentive for them to approve the visa, because if not , they had to return the money. Now there is not.

Colombia is a beautiful country with friendly people, but unfortunately, it might be better to keep your home base in México or Ecuador, as CCC suggests and just visit here.

I have been here 11 years and may have to do the same, if they dont approve my next visa in the next few months

CCC..I have a question for you

Can you please kindly give us a synopsis of your most recent knowledge and experience with Ecuadorean Visas?

What types are there, how easy are they to get  etc., particularily for pensioners.

And health insurance options.


@nico peligro the post above applies to several of the newbie posters here

BTW..for an R Visa at least 2 lawyers have told me that in order to apply you need an EPS, so the rumour that over 60 you cannot get EPS is untrue. People apear to be mixing it up with Mediciina Preopagada

BTW I just enrolled in an EPS as the principle after a lapse of several months.

Watch the rumours that come up on this site

I have just responded to the question about

Ecuador visas, at the Ecuador Visas Info thread

of the Ecuador forum.  Any information not

contained in my post over there is beyond my

current knowledge and should be posed to

a visa specialist or immigration attorney.

I obtained my personal visa -- which is

a permanent residency visa -- based on

ownership of property in Ecuador, in 2014.

cccmedia in Santander, Colombia

What a mess!  It seems no one has the details and they are always changing due to the political winds in South America.   Are there no policies that cover everything, even if expensive?  What is the problem?  A USA based Insurance company should be thankful to pay for services rendered in S America as they are far less expensive than healthcare in the USA.  Doctors fees are much less. Drugs are less than half the price.  Why is there such a problem?

I can see a country not wanting to get an old sick person on their government sponsored healthcare plan like the USA does (Medicare Medicaid). I treat these patient now in the USA. No income, on 100% public assistance. One legal immigrant comes in and then brings the entire family in to live off the system.  Most common are people from India and the Mideast.

If an expat is willing to pay for their healthcare costs and add currency and jobs to these countries ( Central and South American) would be stupid to not want their dollars spent in their countries.

Is there some other sentiment or issue these countries have?

Dr Peterson

Of course you can travel insurance, noatter how long you are in Colombia, but the.posters were asking about cheap insurance, like,EPS, which costs 104 mil  pesos a month ( $22 dollars), which you need a visa for in orfer to qualify

@nico peligro Nico, my understanding of the insurance system is that one is supposed to pay 12 % of one's income as a premium as your premium. Further, my understanding is that agents typically don't dig into your income they simply enroll new people at minimum income levels. The insured is supposed to report their actual monthly income on an ongoing basis which I suppose many folks do not do ( I am not being judgemental, rather just stating the facts as I understand them). So there is obviously a gap in the system that allows this to occur. Perhaps this could possibly be one motivational factor in the visa system changes, who knows?

@DrStanton, the attitudes of countries varies widely, check out policies of Brazil and Panama for comparison and contrast. I am considering Colombia principally because of familial ties; but, there are options.


@Lpdiver perhaps this could be reseaoning for visa changes?

You have been travelling to Colombia 20 years and you actually believe there is reasoning or logic?

I think they are just trying to emulate " monkey see, monkey do" what the US  does

Thinking of living in Colombia. I have Medicare in the states and I'm insulin dependent which I basically get it free with Medicare. I know it won't cover me in Colombia

my question is does health insurance in Colombia cover insulin or I need to pay extra for it?

Pre-exisiting coverage is available after about four months.

However, when there are shortages -- which can be frequent --

you will have to pay for your meds in the private sector.


I realize most want low cost coverage.  Makes sense.  I have been helping out some people I know in Columbia with advice on how to manage their healthcare issues via skype.  I will say that the doctors there are pretty good.  The tests and meds I recommended were usually the ones that the Columbian docs had prescribed.  They have MRI, Ultrasound, CT scans and colonoscopy and even endoscopy. This is a good thing.  I *think* prices are fairly low but don't have accurate data. MRI in the USA = 2500.  Cervical fusion?  15K.  Low back X rays?  $300.  I am wondering if the prices are the same for a cash patient as what the government insurance plans pay.  e.g.  Medicare rates and medicaid rates in the USA are very low. Doctors don't like the low pay but must accept it.  Pregunta:  Could a person retire there and just pay cash?  ..or is it like the USA where paying cash would cause bankruptcy?   

Thank you for your input.

@Alicea915   You are a type 2 diabetic?  Metformin is cheap even in the USA. Daily insulin injectables like Levimoir are also fairly cheap.  Drug prices in other countries' are always lower. USA pays the highest because insurance will pay.  Even Canada pays half price. 3rd world countries pay pennies because pharma can still make *some* money selling their drugs.  Shortages could be an issue in Columbia but I *think* the prices should be fairly decent.  New drugs like Trulicity and Ozempic are probably not available. 

I had a meeting with the to be a very good reasonably priced organization

Allthough there have been significant changes since October, I was previously misinformed, or more likely,misinterpreted information from my old lawyer, on a couple issues.

Its true, the canceleria only keeps the study portion of the Visa fee in all cases. You dont pay the main fee until you get the visa aproved, and if it isnt approved you dont pay, as it was before in previous years.

The final fee for R Visa is higher $400.

I learned a few other things, about an R Visa.

When applying for R Visa, you dont have a police report, because the canceleria does one for you with the Colombia police, as they only look at the last3 years.

However " M" visas Rentista and pensionado, do require police reports, and are now calked "V" visas and dont count as acumulated time to get a "permanent" "R" visa.

So if the laws dont get any better, new people with Pensionada or Rentista Visas could be stuck renewing their visas yearly indefinitely.

Also, apparently after 5 years the,"R" visa has to be renewed ( new thing,)

Also , after the new resolución, Salvoconductos dont count for an R Visa, but they are going to try to push mine through , because I had my Salvoconductos before the rules changed last October.

Also, most of the visas applied for by the since the new resolution was initiated have been aproved ( several hundred) . So there still is hope.

However, still infinitesimally easier to get a Visa in México or Ecuador, espescially for Canadians.

@drpeterjstanton In COLOMBIA, as in most Latín countries

costs are less than a fifth of the US or less

For instance a specialist apoiintment " particular" private will cost you about 250 mil pesos. About $55

One day in an ICU will cost  about 1 million pesos or about $220 US

I know these from personal experience ..wont get into details.

"They have MRI, Ultrasound, CT scans and colonoscopy and even endoscopy".

Yep and a lot more. And available quickly, and in a lot of smallervcentres. My wife ( mostly) and myself have gotten all of those and more in recent months

@nico peligro is this in Ecuador cause I know in Colombia where I was trying to retire they have changed the requirements and you can no longer get EPS in Colombia on a retirement/pension visa Because of this I have been following a couple in Ecuador now for 8 years and I am now looking to move there now that Colombia is out is I can't get Ecuador coverage tthen I am S O L I can not afford a minimum of 500 USD a month for these global insurance companies  that's almost half my pension

Dear Brett,

Your options may include...

(1) living part-time, say 180 days annually,

       in Colombia, thus side-stepping

       health-insurance issues and visa


(2) obtaining a retirement or rentista

     visa for Ecuador provided you meet

     the monthly-income minimum

(3) obtaining a professional visa for Ecuador

     provided you have an accredited college

     or university degree

-- cccmedia in Santander, Colombia

@cccmedia Hi I was originally looking to Colombia to live but since the M pension visa you're no longer allowed in their EPS and I can't afford these global insurance companies . I am looking to Ecuador now. snow birding is not an option once I leave my apartment here (I have a very good deal with my land lady 750 a mnth in a small town outside of Kitchener Ontario) I could never afford the regular apt rates here so once I move I am stuck where ever I decide to go.  A student is out of the question I do not qualify for that

My Canadian pension altho meager is enough to meet the monthly income requirements there. I have been following a couple, Amelia and JP, who have been there 8 years now from Oregon They have compiled a list of people they trust including a lawyer Maite Duran whom I have been in contact with and will be hiring soon to do my paperwork. She helps with everything required and once I get my cedula I can apply for their local (private) healthcare

So I'm waiting for my tax return so I can get this ball rolling

Thanks for the response it's greatly appreciated



I use humalog pens 60 units a day

lantus sólo star pens 45 units and

Januvia one pill a day

I figure Medicare saves me 1500 a month

im afraid what it'll cost me in Colombia and

if their insurance covers it

@brettfairweather i dont know where they told you you cant get EPS with a pensión visa.

You need EPS in order to renew it.

Thats how it works for me with a Rentista

I Just gort an EPS account and all she wanted to know is that I had a a cedula

They dont care if its an M,R or one of the new V type of visas, and they sure dont care if it is Rentista, Pensionada , married or otherwise.

Who told you this strange story?

@nico peligro  Good to know. That could be paid in cash unless one is on a limited income such as a small pension from the USA.  ICU in the USA is several thousand per day. ER visit?  $1000.  Thanks for the info.

@Alicea915  I will admit that diabetes is not my specialty and you should investigate cheaper medications with your personal doctor. 

That said. In the USA the typical type 2 diabetic is treated with cheap metformin pills up to 2000 mg per day. Patients are advised to avoid carbs and exercise. Most do not watch their diet and have A1C levels of 8+ or so. Better than no treatment but not great.  There are daily insulins like Levemir that are fairly cheap and are taken with metformin.   

New drugs like Trulicity and Ozempic kick ass and are called GLP 1 drugs.  I doubt they are covered in most South American health plans.

Do some research and find out what meds will work for your personal situation.  Then ask you doc to prescribe them for you.  Look for legitimate online pharmacies or purchasing a supply in a different country.  I had an MD friend get generic Viagra in Mexico for pennies.  This is just an example.  Do you research as see what you can find.  Avoid fake Chinese online pharmacies. Their drugs are fake.

@nico peligro I don't recall. I've been getting a bit of odd advice.

Actually i stand corrected.

Because of my particularily complicated situation, trying to convert a 5 year Rentista with Salvoconductos to an "R" visa after the new resolution in October. coupled with a similarily bureaucratic situation with my documents required in Canada, I have been talkng to 3 lawyers / agents , to see what my potential and future options are .

And apparently, if you have a previous visa and you are renewing, whether Pensionada or in my case Rentista, you can stay on EPS, and supposedly have to have EPS to renew (thats what all 3 lawyer/agents have told me).

But for a new person, applying for a Pensionada Visa (and I assume Rentista and other types), you cannot go on EPS and often have to have emergency medical insurance, including, "repatriation" insurance.

This of course all depends on the agent at the Cancilleria who is reviewing your case.

I am no sure what happens , as in my case, if I get refused my "R" Visa, leave, and come back on a tourist visa, if I still have EPS and Medicina Prepagada, what happens if I go for another Rentista viasa for instance?.

I know SURA is a bit stricter than Nueva EPS as far as EPS is concerned, but if you keep paying, they will not kick you out if your Visa/Cedula expires, but I dont know what would happen if you tried to use it. And I am sure there are EPS agents who will still give you EPS without a valid Cedula/Visa , just as there are bank Branches that will open an account for you witth only a passport.

The laws in Colombia are only followed on a random basis, and enforced even more randomly, as "everybody knows" (To quote Leonord Cohen)

Anyway, in my case, the Coomeva Medicina Prepagada would still be good, because I got it when I was on a passport, and have used it before on an expired Visa.

This whole Visa/ Health Care /taxation thing has become a giant cluster foch..ridiculous. Worse than I saw in Saudi Arabia 30 years ago and almost a s bad as Kazakhstan ,Russia and those FSU places. This has been happening particularily over the last 2 years.

If they are really serious about tourism and bringing money into he country , they should simplify things like in Mexico, for both Visas and Taxation, and make it attractive for expats to come here and spend their money. If they dont want expats leaching on their system, make them get special health insurance, at higher price, that is okay with me. There has ton be some "give and take"

But I doubt that will ever happen, all the talk is just a bunch of virtue signalling, and the government actions , the last one or or the present dont match their Rhetoric.

Hello everyone,

Please note that some off-topic posts have been put aside from this thread.

Thank you for your comprehension,