OK, so the medical services are not exactly free because you’re paying a monthly premium of around $70 or so.
The IESS is the government managed form of Social Security/medical care in Ecuador. All legal residents and citizens of Ecuador can sign up regardless of age. There are no deductibles you need to pay when treated. All medical services are covered (except some medications you may need to pay out of pocket).
You can also affiliate your spouse for a bit less than half the premium you’re paying.
So how do you get service?
After at least three months of being affiliated, you call a number in Ecuador 1-800-1000-000 ext 140 to ask for a “cita” appointment and they will tell you a date and medical center location for the appointment (usually within 2 weeks). Spanish only.
They will book you in with a general doctor first to help diagnose you. Then based on that appointment they will re-book you another appointment for a later date with a specialist or for further testing. This is how they work.
And for emergencies?
For emergencies NOT EVERYWHERE will accept IESS patients so you have to go to a specific IESS hospital in the big cities of Ecuador for free emergency assistance, if you go elsewhere they won’t pay it. Every medium to larger city in Ecuador has an IESS center of medical attention.
That’s it, that’s all you really need to know.
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