IESS: The Truth

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Voluntary affiliation to the IESS Social Security Institute is the public health insurance option taken by foreigners in Ecuador. It has a monthly premium of $85, this is calculated by applying 20.6% of the Basic Salary. It has coverage for: all types of illnesses (including pre-existing conditions), maternity, invalidity, disability, etc.
The IESS has a budget of 10,170 million dollars this year, of which only 2,177 million are for health coverage, of which USD 40 million per year are lost due to acts of corruption in the purchase of medicines and supplies and the payment to external medical providers, in addition to the mismanagement of BIESS, the institution’s bank, as affirmed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Francisco Cepeda, in an interview with the virtual newspaper www.primicias.ec.
Cepeda stated that a notice will be sent to the Executive this month, where it is proposed to make significant changes; such as raising the retirement age, adjusting the calculation of pensions for retirees, among others. Also, he is aware that raising the premium rates at this time would be very violent, especially when the services of the IESS, such as the supply of medicines, are not good.
Last March, it was disclosed that the IESS would leave the agreements with external providers due to the large debt it maintains with them. On March 9, an official statement from the institution was issued stating that they will not suspend the referrals of their members to external health providers. The objective is to empower medical units nationwide (IESS Hospital) to 100%. Thus this will reduce referrals and generate savings. The IESS guarantees timely and quality medical care, first of all through the internal network of medical units that the institution has, and as a last option with the private complementary network.
According to the article in El Mercurio newspaper (https://elmercurio.com.ec/2022/04/05/el-campo-de-la-salud-afectada-por-falta-de-pagos/) SOLCA (Society for the Fight Against Cancer), stated last Sunday that in the short term SOLCA will no longer be able to attend to new cancer patients derived from the IESS, for not complying with the payment of millions of dollars. Immediately, the President of the IESS announced that dialogues would be held with the representatives of SOLCA; and, finally on Thursday, April 7, a short-term agreement was reached. Jose Jouvín SOLCA representative, expressed “the SOLCA service to IESS patients will not be interrupted”… “We respect the good faith of the government to solve the problem.
In addition to SOLCA, this problem is registered in several hospitals, clinics and other private health centers that provide their services to the IESS. One of them is the Latino Clinic, Juan Esteban Morocho, Manager recognizes that the situation is critical for everyone. The last payment they received was in May-June 2021, this creates flow problems for purchases of supplies and medicines. Private clinics treat patients with serious illnesses such as: coronary diseases, heart surgeries, etc. Morocho affirms that despite everything he has continued to receive patients referred from the IESS, due to his duty to provide a quality service and warmth to the extent of his possibilities. Therefore, he called on the National Government to commit to cover the amounts owed, for the good of the patients and their families, who are the most affected.
Renal Services Unit of the Austro (Unireas) is also affected by unpaid bills, which have a direct impact on its patients, since it has an agreement with the Public Health Network that consists of providing comprehensive dialysis treatment. This situation originated in 2020, with partial payments in 2021, which is why they have had to apply for loans to pay for supplies that are “very expensive,” says Augusto Vázquez, treating doctor and manager of the aforementioned health home.
This situation is not new, since its creation the IESS has been a victim of internal corruption and shortcomings in the system. However, it has saved millions of lives, it has high-level medical specialists, medical and administrative personnel willing to serve others. Proof of this was his dedication in the most serious part of the pandemic. It is very sad that due to political situations and corruption, it is not possible to carry out the work of caring for locals and foreigners as provided by the Constitution. It is worth emphasizing and applauding the opening of private hospitals to continue treating patients derived from the IESS, despite the economic problems of the Institution.
We cannot lose confidence that the current problems of Social Security can be resolved, the National Government has the obligation to safeguard the health of the inhabitants of Ecuador.

Contact information:

Daniela Cordero

info@cuencaexpatinsurance.com

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