The World Health Organization ranks Colombia’s health care as the 22nd best in the world. This places it ahead of the United States (38), Canada (30), Australia (32), and Germany (25).
Colombia’s medical system is one of the best in Latin America and respected internationally. Many clinics and hospitals are accredited by U.S. organizations, including the Joint Commission International. Physicians enjoy excellent education in Colombia and often receive at least part of their training in the United States.
Medellin has some of the continent’s best medical facilities and most highly skilled doctors. Long-known as a destination for cosmetic surgery, Medellin is now established as a destination for complex procedures and advanced technology. This includes transplant surgery.
Not only is the medical care in Colombia of an international standard, it’s also very affordable. Costs for procedures can be 50% to 90% less than for comparable procedures performed Stateside.
While living in Colombia, you can use the basic, government-subsidized health plan, called EPS. With no Colombian income, this will cost you 12% of the minimum wage (a premium of about US$36 per month). On this plan, you would use the facilities they specify, which will be basic.
From there you can buy add-on plans, many of which require that you have EPS as a prerequisite. These entitle you to faster service and better, more-upscale facilities. Not every insurance company offers add-on coverage to people over 60. You may need to shop around if you’re older. If you retire in Colombia, Comfenalco (who takes people over 60) has upgrade plans starting at 120,000 pesos per month.
A private, premium plan for in a network of high-end clinics, would run you about 3,000,000 pesos per year (US$900 – $1100).
The standard of health care is high in Colombia. The country is a medical tourism hub, with patients coming from across the Americas. They are here to take advantage of the generous prices and quality services available.
Homeless and very low income people qualify for free-healthcare paid for by the government. This option is not available to expats.
The EPS (Entidadas Promotoras de Salud) is mandatory for all Colombian residents. Expats can opt out but must show proof of another health care plan. Those who choose to contribute pay 12.5% of gross monthly income to the EPS. If you are employed by a Colombian company, they pay 8% and you pay 4% of EPS.
The cost of your plan will depend on your age, lifestyle, and any existing medical conditions. Private health care is known in Colombia as Perpagada. Private health costs range from US$180 – USS$325 per month.
While the standard of Public Health care is good, there are some benefits to going private. These include private bedrooms, and more choice of hospitals available. You are also likely to get an appointment faster through private insurance.
Some of the top private health insurers include:
AXA Colpatria – 01-8000-512620
Seguros Falabella – 01 8000 11 30 77
SURA – 01 8000 51 8888
This Catholic hospital is one of the best hospitals in South America. The hospital specializes in cancer treatment and also podiatry. A university hospital, students receive part of their basic education here.
The hospital is used to dealing with foreign patients and many of the staff here speak English. There is a dedicated department that focuses only on overseas patients.
Calle 78 B # 69 – 240, Medellín, Barrio Córdoba, Robledo.
+57 (034) 445 9000
Situated in the Seville area of Medellin, this is one of the biggest hospitals in South America. The hospital specializes in heart care, digestive issues and organ transplants.
It is also an established general hospital offering a high standard of treatment across the board. It is widely seen as being the second best hospital in Medellin.
Calle 64 # 51D-154, Barrio Sevilla, Medellín (located next to the Hospital Metro Station).
+57 (034) 444 1333
The Clinica Las Americas are located in two separate sites in Medellin. One is in Belen and they also have an ambulance in Poblado.
They specialize in treating women and children and also a strong history in dealing with international visitors.
Diagonal 75B # 2A-80/140, Medellín, Barrio La Mota, Belén.
+57 (034) 342 1010
This nationally famous hospital is regarded as the best in Bogota. The hospital has an extensive intensive care ward and specializes in a number of fields.
The hospital is popular with expats and medical tourists. As a result many of the staff here speak English.
Cra. 7 #40-62, Bogotá, Colombia
+57 1 5946161
This hospital comes with the recommendation of the Joint Commission International. This exclusive award is only given to the world’s best hospitals and is a sure sign of quality.
The hospital specializes in blood care and children’s health. It also has a radiology unit and large emergency care unit.
Cl. 163a #13B-60, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia.
+57 1 6672727
Another university hospital, this is considered to be one of the best hospitals in Colombia. The hospital is clean and well maintained. It is also used to dealing with expats and overseas patients.
The pediatric department is regarded as one of the best in Colombia. The neurological department is also highly acclaimed.
Carrera 8 #0-29 Sur, Santa Fé, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia.
+57 1 4077075
For minor injuries and ailments most people use Medical Centers. There are lots of these throughout the big cities and even smaller towns will have at least one.
A consultation costs around US$40 and they can write prescriptions if needed. However most medication is freely available through pharmacies.
The Dental services available in Colombia are also of a very high standard. Dental tourism, like medical tourism is a thriving industry here.
As a general rule of thumb you can expect to pay around 50% less than you would in the United States. Savings for some procedures can be as high as 70%.
If you find yourself being quoted a similar amount to what you would pay back home, you are being ripped off. While not usual, this does occasionally happen. Don’t worry though. There are plenty of other dentists who will be keen to take your business at a more competitive price.
Most of the dentists speak at least Basic English and many have been trained in the United States. Clinics are clean and modern.