Health insurance requirement for foreign travelers delayed due to ‘total lack of preparation’

Feb 2, 2018 | 41 comments

The day before a new rule requiring foreigners visiting Ecuador to show proof of health insurance was set to go into effect, Presidient Lenin Moreno signed an executive order delaying it for three months.

President Lenin Moreno

According to the order, the government needed more time to “establish regulations, procedures and administrative requirements for the application of the transitory provision.” The rule is now scheduled to become effective May 1.

A former employee of Ecuador’s interior ministry who helped write the rules for the insurance requirement said Thursday that there was a “complete and total” lack of planning for enforcing the insurance requirement. “There was no effort to prepare for it,” said Joaquin Castro, who left the ministry’s immigration office in early January. “The immigration officers at the airports only heard about it on Monday. There are no computer systems to monitor and enforce it. There are no procedures. There is nothing,” he said.

Even with the president’s order to delay implementation of the new requirement, there are no plans to develop the procedures or data bases to manage the program, Castro says. “It will be probably be delayed again in April or simply dropped completely.”

The visitor insurance requirement was part of last year’s reform of Ecuador’s immigration law.

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