Opinions

The IESS mess: Mass hysteria, surprisingly low expat participation and a failure to communicate

A recent post on an expat social media forum suggested that if Ecuador’s Social Security system (IESS) follows through with its rate hike for voluntary membership there will be a mass exodus of norte americanos from the country.

Well, it turns out that those leaving might fill up four or five rows on the first Tame prop jet leaving Cuenca for Guayaquil. For good measure, you could throw in a couple more rows of those protesting the new immigration law.

Despite what has sometimes amounted to mass hysteria among the expat community over the new method of calculating costs for IESS membership — which most foreign residents use for its health care benefits — it turns out that only a tiny minority are signed up and even fewer actually take advantage of it.

IESS Cuenca hospital

In Cuenca, 272 (out of about 5,000) expats have signed up and, of those, only 74 visited IESS facilities for health services in 2016. Through the first half of 2017, the number of visits totals 41. Nationally, IESS says 935 foreign residents (out of about 30,000) belong to IESS. Crunch the numbers and that works out to half of one percent in Cuenca and a third of one percent nationally.

The  numbers are important for context and to show the disproportionality of the uproar to the problem. On the other hand, the changes have a big impact on some people. I know because I’m one of them.

The latest (for those who haven’t heard)

On July 5, IESS national director of affiliate services Maria Angelica Vera, met with a small group of Cuenca expats specially selected to spread the word about the new voluntary membership fee.

Vera said the requirement that foreign resident members with 9-I visas (pensionado) pay a monthly fee equivalent to 17.6% of the income reported in their residency application is already in effect. Most of those members, however, continue to pay based on the national minimum wage of $375 because the system does not yet have access to their residency applications. Vera requests that members who have not updated their income declaration come by an IESS office and do it. Within two months, she says, IESS will have the immigration files and will increase fees for all those who do not report voluntarily.

As of July 5, Vera said that 72 foreign residents in the Cuenca IESS district had updated their income declarations.

Strangely, the new fee applies only to those with 9-I visas. Residents with other visas will continue to pay based on the minimum wage since the the government, according to Vera, cannot determine their income if it is earned outside of Ecuador. When Cuenca attorney Lina Ulloa pointed out the unfairness of raising fees for some but not other expats, Vera said her office might consider a blanket fee for all foreign residents based on the minimum $800 income required for residency. From what she said, this seems like a long-shot.

Needless-to-say, the government’s roll-out of IESS policy changes doesn’t pass the stink test.

  • StillWatching

    This article reminds me of the line from the Buffalo Springfield classic, “For What It’s Worth”

    “Paranoia strikes deep

    Into your life it will creep

    It starts when you’re always afraid

    Step out of line, the men come and take you away”

    Expats are frightened by their own shadow. As Hardy points out, all the hysteria that affects 272 Cuenca expats but has been such a focus of attention, in reality, is much ado about nothing.

    • ecexplorer

      I met personally with Diana earlier this month and she was very clear with me that the 272 number is grossly understated.

      • StillAlive

        Is there any statistical information on the expat community that is accurate, buddy-old-pal?

        • Willson G

          NONE —

      • Sara

        At the meeting she said 272 was correct as did Sra. Vera.

        • Willson G

          THERE IS MORE THEN THAT WOULD USE IT IF THEY KNEW ENOUGH ABOUT IT BUT NOT AT THE NEW RATE

      • LadyMoon

        Diana ‘personally’ gave the number 273…

        • Andrew

          We’re you at the meeting ?

      • StillWatching

        What is the real number and what is the source of the information? The originally reported number seems to be from an “official” source with the true stats available to them. If you have better information, I’d like to hear it.

    • Willson G

      glad your income is large enough that this is not your problem but for others to pay $300 (17 per cent ) or more per person –it would be a handicap –and many did not even know they were eligible for this coverage

      • StillWatching

        Did you receive a guarantee of cheap medical care when you became an expat here? If you don’t like the IESS system then get your insurance from one of the private providers. More importantly, , if you or anyone else “did not even know they were eligible for this coverage”, how can you now bitch about it not being an option for you because of cost?

        You seem to have a sense of entitlement that gets in the way of your ability to think logically.

        • tf murphy

          I have been here for 3 years I have never used any part of iess nor will I in the future. If some kind of emergency I would pay out of pocket. I have
          Insurance in the states both private and va.
          But for the government to take almost 20 per cent
          Of my disposable income. Is not fair plus
          We get no retirement from iess. The government created the in balance let pay back what they took

          • StillWatching

            You seem to be poorly informed. The government isn’t going to take a penny of your money if you don’t join IESS. Participation isn’t required. You pay only if you join. If your medical insurance in the U.S. covers you here then you have no further obligation. If it doesn’t, you still don’t have to join IESS. You are free to obtain insurance from any of the private companies that do business here in Ecuador.

            • F. G. Williams

              We are required to have medical insurance under the new immigration law. We are not specifically required to have IESS.

              • StillWatching

                Precisely

    • Globetrotter

      Actually, If you read the article. Hardy ends with “it doesn’t pass the stink test”. How did you pull “much ado about nothing” out of that?!!!!!

      • StillWatching

        Because Hardy is only expressing an opinion and I give that opinion as much credence as I give all of yours. None.

        • Globetrotter

          (giggle)

    • Karen

      Synopsis: If you have a 9-1 visa and go through the Cuenca IESS office you’ll be paying the new higher rate. If you have professional or investor visa and go through the Cuenca IESS office you’ll remain at the old rate.
      If you go through any other IESS office in Ecuador you’ll remain at the old rate with all residency visas.
      GOT IT!

      • StillWatching

        Nope. Shortly (allegedly within 2 months) IESS will have access to your eligibility letter showing the monthly income you showed when you first got your cedula. From that, the 17.6% (or the fee for couples) will be figured. This will be applied for all expats with retirement visas.

    • Donald

      Perhaps the expats that you know are frightened by their own shadows. Since you are an expat, can we assume that you are also frightened by your own shadow, or are you an exception?

      • StillWatching

        I’m among the group that is unafraid.

  • Shirley

    Yes, the unfairness stinks! This has been very confusing since it seems only the people in the Cuenca area are paying. Where I live, in Manta, the people who deal with us under the Voluntaria classification of IESS, know nothing about any changes. I was told to continue to pay the $66 each month. They said, if I have had no personal notification of changes, just do what I have been doing. ?????

    • Michael Gamble

      That has also been my experience, both in Guayaquil, and now here in Quito. Nobody we have spoken with at several offices knows anything, and last week I paid the usual, no questions asked ………seems to be an advantage to stay away from Gringoville (Cuenca). Anyway, why anyone moves halfway around the world only to hang out with folks from home, completely evades me……
      .

  • wmateri

    Diana Calle, the person at the Cuenca IESS office who registers expats, is away until July 25th according to her office (we were by there this past week).

    • J. Doe

      I went there two weeks ago and nobody even knew who she was! She won’t answer emails either.

      • Diane

        She is on vacation.

        • J Doe

          I went there three weeks ago. I emailed her twice since all this started (and since she said we could all email her) and the last time I sent her an email was 3 weeks ago. I doubt she’s been on vacation that long.

      • Ckd

        She has been extremely busy. If you have been to her office, you would understand.

  • Jane Goodman

    I believe any of those people who are already paying the higher rate should have been afforded the opportunity to attend the IESS meeting other than a “select few.” I would certainly be interested in their selection process. You are correct — this stinks!

    • J Doe

      Jane, I don’t know if you went to the first meeting, but it was chaos. The expats there were yelling, were rude, and at least one was physically and verbally trying to intimidate the IESS rep there. I don’t blame them for selecting certain people. That said, I would be *very* interested to know how they chose the people to attend; I don’t know any of them, and I know a lot of expats in IESS.

      • Jane Goodman

        According to this article there were only 72 who have visited the IESS office. They surely could have accommodated that group. They certainly did not hesitate to take our money.

    • StillAlive

      Only the cream of the crop got invited.

      • Jane Goodman

        How would you define “cream of the crop?”

  • Marcia Glenn

    I also think that all volunteer members should have been officially notified of the change and invited to the meeting. More than the price increase, the conflicting information and the lack of a professional implementation (i.e. only some people notified about the change and the meeting, different information provided in different cities, only pensioners being affected, etc.) has been the most frustrating part of the process.

    • Dan

      After what happened at the meeting in May there’s no way they would do another gringo cattle call.

      • Marcia Glenn

        That is probably true. I don’t think there is any excuse for rudeness, but we weren’t invited to the first meeting either or even sent an email about the changes

    • MountainHombre

      What would be sensible is to have smaller meetings. Participants hold their questions until the presentation is finished. I’ve been to two meetings, both devolved . . . If someone is disruptive or abusive, they are escorted out.

      The process has stunk. Having said that, too many of the participants have acted as jerks. And, as always, the people who are respectful are left being quiet in a small groups or loudmouths.

      • StillWatching

        Smaller groups? Great idea. That would serve everybody’s interests.

  • Jane

    Fortunately, the government of Ecuador has been equally incompetent in coming up with a “policy” to go along with the new health insurance mandate for foreign residents. Without said “policy” the mandate is meaningless so I’ll happily continue to go naked.

    • StilllWatching

      The thought of you going naked is frightening.

    • guest

      Whoa, too much information.

    • Ken

      Hope you don’t have a slip and fall what is statistically the most dangerous place on the planet for accidents while you are Naked . . . Your own bathroom. (No Photos – Please)

      • Samantha

        Hey look, It’s Ken! Who never saw an insurance policy he didn’t like.

      • Katheryn

        LOL. This reminds me of why I need one of those, “help I’ve fallen gadgets”. Always keep a towel within reach to avoid the embarrassment.

      • Jane

        If slipped and fell I’d pay the bill for medical care. You seem to have it in your head that ‘insurance’ needs to be part of the equation, it doesn’t.

        • guest

          jane, I agree with you! Insurance is just another Ponzi scheme designed to take money from those that are in fear or have been sold out by their government. Insurance only pays when they want and they only pay the amount they want. Who pays the difference? The only constant when it comes to Insurance is that they will make a huge profit.

          • Ckd

            Guest..I doubt IESS makes any kind of profit. They are in the red. And there is no deductible and no extra fees. They pay everything. But ” time” is another matter.

  • Acbig1

    I have tried for a month to get Ecuador officials or Travel websites to give me a consensus interpretation of the new law regarding health insurance requirements. So far, I believe we can have an outside (or international) health insurance plan, as long as it is valid in Ecuador. I’m not doing that IESS b.s. That 17% is ludicrous! In fact, BMI is probably going to be my choice because it is an Ecuador insurance plan, and I was able to work with them in establishing a Deductible high enough to bring my monthly payments down to just over $100/month. I figure if I am in bad enough shape that I need to actually use this insurance, I will have emergency treatment here and then get back to the states under my Medicare, to recoup or for further medical attention. But in any case, I am a “mess” over this new law stuff. I hate that the Ecuador government can make laws, and then run & hide when somebody asks for clarity. Or ask 10 different people/officials a question about it and get 10 different answers.

    • StillAlive

      I haven’t heard of BMI before. Is that short for body mass index?

    • Ken

      How do you plan to get back to the US to use your Medicare?
      If you are “in bad enough shape that you need to actually use the insurance,” they are not going to allow you on Any commercial airline hooked up to a heart monitor & with 3 IV Bags stuck in your arm. Trust me. You’ll be better off here in Ecuador with good insurance, or with a VISA Card with a Wicked Credit Limit.

      • Beth

        All Ecuador hospitals are required to provide emergency medical care to anyone. It’s in the constitution and also mentioned in the new immigration law.

        • Mary Ann

          They may be required to provide care, but they are not required to let you out of the hospital without paying the bill apparently – have heard of this more than once now. Credit cards and loans from friends/family have had to be used to settle up. And if you think you can just walk out and that’s that, think again. Computerization is coming to Ecuador, albeit slowly. A gringo businessman (who will remain unnamed) was unable to leave on a commercial flight because of unpaid business taxes. If they can catch you on that, I am sure they’ll catch you for other debts as well. So, if you are counting on just doing what the illegal aliens in the US have been doing for years – go to the ER and stick it on the public tab – think again. Time for some personal responsibility people. If you do not want to purchase insurance – public or private – and choose to self insure, then be prepared to actually cover your own expenses.

          • SueB

            How much would the “bill” be at a public hospital?

          • John

            “So, if you are counting on just doing what the illegal aliens in the US have been doing for years” – Interesting racist and political rant but the reality is most of the people in the U.S. that use the E.R. are citizens.

        • Ken

          Is that your back up plan?

  • markshlitz

    Depending on how long this lasts, I might end up keeping my investment visa and not flip it to a pension in a few years. The additional cost would be more expensive.

    • Ken

      As per today’s rules, that would be a genius idea, and the interest on your CD more than pays for your IESS Monthly Payment.

  • Sara

    All the expats! All 935 of them! Sounds like another holocaust to me.

    • Willson G

      if all knew of the program and no bs of the rules maybe much more would join but not at the rate they decided to usa

    • Globetrotter

      Injustice has nothing to do with the numbers victimized by it. One or one million is irrelevant.

  • Marc Cross

    IESS is not just healthcare insurance. All Ecuadorians pay into the system at 17.6% of their income. If employed the employer pays half. IESS provides a pension after 15 years of paying in, Unemployment compensation, Death benefits (funeral expenses, etc.) Surviving spouse and dependent benefits and disability benefits are also paid. Interestingly a spouse that holds a dependents visa only pays about 4% of the primary’s stated income. That is because a dependent does not receive the additional benefits listed above, only health care. I asked Diana Calle why this could not be done for primary Visa holders as well, since as retirees we would be unlikely to pay in the required 15 years to receive a pension. The answer I received was “as of now it can’t be split” . You are correct when you say that there is no plan as yet to deal with those on a Professional or Investment Visa. Cuenca seems to be a test case.

  • Bard Webb

    Is there anyone in Ecuador that truthfully knows what is going on with the health care problem? I don’t think so. I don’t have a good feeling about this.

  • Andrew

    The number of ex pats enrolled is ludicrous. Diana Alvarez confirmed that personally. We have been paying 17.6 % all along but based on a much lower income base. Now they want to take nearly 20℅ out of my and my wife’s pension
    Their argument is that Ecuadorian have paid in like this for years. All very true but that has been based on income not pension and we are not being allowed to opt out as EC’s are.

    • Jason Faulkner

      You are perfectly free to opt out. All you have to do is secure private health insurance.

      • Andrew

        Yes we are but then start the merry go round of being old and having pre existing conditions

        • Jason Faulkner

          Welcome to the private health insurance con. Better to just suck it up and accept the socialist model. It’s far better than what the private market will ever offer.

        • StillWatching

          If you can, think back to when you were a child. Did your mother ever sit you down on her knee and tell you, “Andrew, life will always be easy and fair? No? I didn’t think so. Do you know why?

    • Captain_Eric

      Candidly, i think it is fair to charge expats for healthcare here. Seems it’s asking too much to expect healthcare in your later years when you haven’t havent paid in for a life time, like the Ecuadorians. People need for healthcare when they are old. Getting something for (almost) nothing, is just not cool, fair,nor financially prudent. I understand why they are doing it.

      • Andrew

        Candidly I agree. But this is a major change in what we thought was going to be and in our decision to choose EC. Colombia uses 4 x their basic income for tge state system then you supplement with private insurance. That seems reasonable. We want IESS as a last resort insurance. Maybe they could put in a $10,000 deductible and or phase the increase in.

        • StillWatching

          If you move to Colombia and they also change their rules, what will you do? Cry or adjust? Adults adjust.

          You want…? Yeah, I want a lot of things, too. Free ice cream would be nice. Do you know anywhere I can get that?

          If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

        • Captain_Eric

          I find it curious that Ecuador ever provided any government insurance to expats to begin with. I wonder what the logic was.

          After all, Ecuador started the “something for nothing,” and now are correcting that by making it “value paid for value received,” probably the only sustainable way to do it.

          And, if I were them, I wouldn’t spend one minute on expat issues, not issues like this anyway. They’ve got millions of Ecuadorians to take care of, and not to forget, their health system is financial distressed, at least I believe I read that.

          But apparently some expats really thought they were going to get something for nothing, as you point out, so the uproar. Maybe they could also consider being grateful they got a good thing while they could.

          Anyway, with a major change, people will need to consider their options.

        • ecexplorer

          I am amazed at people that say they are willing to pay out of pocket for the run of the mill, simple, or routine medical care that doesn’t cost much and they only have IESS as backup for major emergencies. SO they aren’t a burden on the IESS system at all.

          But what they are really admitting is that if they have a really big and really expensive medical need they’ll go running to IESS immediately.

          If they have a $20,000 emergency and they haven’t paid their $68 dollars a month for at least 25 years they just cost the government of Ecuador money.

          • StillWatching

            Logic escapes many of those people

    • StillWatching

      Not being allowed to opt out? Baloney. Just go to the IESS office and sign the appropriate form and you’re out.

      • ecexplorer

        And it only takes 15 minutes out of their overwhelmingly busy schedule.

  • guest

    5000 expats in Cuenca? Does this number include all countries or what because there seems to be but a small fraction of that number represented as “gingos.”

  • MrBill

    The percentage rate has never changed, just the amount they calculate it on.

    • Globetrotter

      Thanks MrBill, (Forgive my ignorance, but I have never been much interested in IESS coverage. I self-insure and merely get annoyed at unfairness I find it. )

      You mean the fact that the 17.6% exactly matches the US average rate, the world’s most ridiculous rare, is a coincidence? And is there is no maximum amount that can be charged, like single payer countries have?

      Point is that the average (and the median) income (and presumably pensions) in the USA is 5-6 times that of Ecuador. (All expats here from developed nations are in that boat.) That means, in an absolute sense, Ecuador, which touts itself as an inexpensive medical tourist destination, has just become tied for the most expensive healthcare in the world for expats if you sign up for their IESS plan.

      For non-Americans expats, who have never paid 17.6% of their income (for better care and no deductibles) , the IESS is now an absurd option.

      For American expats, it is now the same as they would pay at home, [and that is presuming they are prepared to hide income if necessary. (ugh)]. But considering the latest Trumpcare, won;t it be costly to drop US coveraget and try to go back on it later?

      • Ken

        Globetrotter – Just had dinner next to a KLM Pilot in Haarlem, Netherlands last month. The Govt. takes 52% of his paycheck for various taxes and healthcare. And he still has a monthly payment and small deductible when it comes to his National Health Care System.

      • MrBill

        Globetrotter:
        What I am saying is that the the 17.6% rate did not change. 17.6% of $375 (the current Ecuadorian minimum wage) is $66. The exact amount that we are paying now. They just now want to charge it on your actual income.
        My issues are that the Ecuadorians that are volunteer affiliates are paying $66, not 17.6% of their income. As well no other visa holders are paying a higher rate.
        Also if the 272 people on IESS in Cuenca is correct then I would suspect there are less than 1000 in all of Ecuador. If even half of those are pensioners then the amount of extra money per month that they will collect is minuscule and not have any benefit to the IESS system, but can have a huge effect on a persons fixed monthly income. It also shows that there are not enough of us to be a burden on the system.
        Until they personally send me a notice to come in or they post on their web site that ALL volunteer affiliates come in and verify their income then I am going to continue to print my monthly invoices and pay the amount showing on them.
        Also as you say there is no cap which is pretty ludicrous.

  • Donald

    Since changing the fee for visas other than the IX-1 Pension Visa seems like, according to above, a long shot, does anyone have any information as to whether one will be permitted to change one’s Pension Visa to another type of visa, such as, for example, a Professional Visa, and avoid the fee increase? A hassle, certainly, but a change that would save a great deal of money. Thanks.

    • StillWatching

      Sounds like a reasonable idea based on taking personal responsibility and adjusting to the actual circumstances instead of whining about things that whining will never change.

  • LadyMoon

    How lovely for you that you don’t have to worry about a hike in your health insurance rate meaning you would have to decide to eat….or not. I think, for those who are very negatively affected, it is worth hysteria!

    • StillWatching

      Statists/collectivists think that one’s lack of planning or their personal circumstances should be a problem solved by society as a whole. Those that believe in accepting personal responsibility for all self created circumstances feel otherwise.

  • Karen

    “It would be over 21% for a married couple” – Those of you that come here looking for sympathy when your dependent spouse would essentially be getting ‘free’ healthcare are pretty funny.

    • Captain_Eric

      Agreed.

    • StillWatching

      Amen! Ricki is the biggest whiner of all of complainers. I have seen her write multiple posts on multiple forums, day after day and she persists in this despite the fact that she claims to have already dropped IESS in favor of Belgenica. Sadly, for whiners like Ricki, the sheer logic of your post will never be understood. She would rather endlessly bleat “Whaaaaa, it’s just not fair”

  • Dan

    Why is it so hard for gringos to understand that IESS is not just a health care program? It’s first priority is fund retiree pensions, just like in the U.S. It also provides unemployment coverage, mortgages, small loans, a death benefit, and supports the “campesino fund” for very poor Ecuadorians. It’s true that most expats won’t take advantage of the services besides health care — except maybe for the death benefit — but by signing up you’re joining the entire program. Don’t join if you don’t want to support it. Anyone who figures 17.6% of their income for health coverage alone and ignores the rest is just plain ignorant.

  • Ken

    In the USA, with the Affordable Care Act, you do pay “Based On Income”
    You income determines the amount of Subsidy you are eligible to receive.

    • StillWatching

      Subsidy? You mean “free” money? Where does that free money come from?

      I read a post from a guy on this forum that claimed that government could only give money and benefits to him that government took from someone else. That sounds like coercion and theft to me. How about you?

  • Jason Faulkner

    IESS is an insurance scheme, not a fee for service model like buying gasoline or groceries. Social security insurance systems are built on the premise that younger, healthier workers with low healthcare costs pay into the system in order to cover the costs of older individuals who inevitably have higher healthcare costs. The idea is that by the time you reach an age where you’ll need those services, you will have a lifetime of payments behind you to defray the costs. All of this talk of unfairness ignores the fact that few if any of the people here spent their working years paying into the Ecuadorian system. Current Ecuadorian workers are subsidizing the cost of your health insurance, so you might want to take a step back and tone down your indignation.

    Modern healthcare is not cheap. Anyone who has had to purchase insurance in the private market in the US is well aware of that reality. Anyone who has had a major illness without insurance is even more aware of how much it costs to save a life. Try to keep some perspective before expecting workers in a developing country making an average of $600 per month to pay your way. There are very few countries in the world where expats can enroll in the Social Security system. Most places would require you to pay private insurers based on your personal health risks. Just being over 50 would put your costs on par with many plans in the US, i.e, at least a thousand dollars per month. Any preexisting conditions would quickly multiply that amount (even more so if Trump’s bill passes). The actuary tables are not kind to anyone over 40.

    Also, keep in mind that there are plenty of very good private insurance plans available in Ecuador. Everyone is free to shop around.

    • StillWatching

      This is a well reasoned and well expressed analysis. Trouble is, the “It’s not fair” whiners only deal in sound bites and faulkner’s post is beyond the limits of their attention span.

  • Dogoslave

    If the IESS mess really has you losing sleep. Start checking out private insurance alternatives. If that doesn’t work for you, start looking at blow’in town. There are countries without mandatory health insurance requirements that have higher quality of life ratings; less pollution; less crime; international airports; quality train and bus transit systems; lots of English spoken and a cost of living that’s 20% – 30% lower than Cuenca.

    • Dan

      I hear it’s nice in Somalia this time of year. Yemen too. And as Dogo says, there’s less pollution there and the cost of living is way below Cuenca’s.

      • Jason Faulkner

        And there´s no functioning government in either of them. A libertarian´s dream!

    • lorenzo

      Everyone gets along in those countries. It’s sunny and 75 degrees everyday. It only rains at night. Each citizen takes a turn at being president for two weeks. There are no subsidies, no GMO’s, and the tranvia is always on time.

      • StillWatching

        I’m on it———— except for the no GMO’s part. I need my GMO’s.

  • Jason Faulkner

    All of us who work in Ecuador pay that rate. It is not only health insurance, it’s also a pension plan. Frankly, it’s a bargain. I was paying twice as much of my income in the US and I’ll never see a dime of that money.

    • StillWatching

      But you said in another post that you left the U.S. when you were an infant and never worked in the U.S. Did you just make this current post up for effect? Here are your very words:

      “I was born in the US. We left when I was an infant. I only lived there for a small fraction of my time on this Earth. I pledged my life, profession and minuscule fortune to come to this country permanently…”

  • Jason Faulkner

    Every worker in the US pays based on income.

  • Captain_Eric

    Candidly, i think it is fair to charge expats for healthcare here. Seems it’s asking too much to expect healthcare in your later years when you haven’t havent paid in for a life time, like the Ecuadorians. People need for much more healthcare when they are old. Getting something for (almost) nothing, is just not cool, fair, nor financially prudent. I understand why they are doing it.

    And I understand that if people expected to get cheap health care, and now this new law comes along and pulls the rug out from underneath them, they are frustrated. Maybe you should reconsider where they want to live if cheap elderly health care is important to you.

    If the numbers are correct in this article, which i tend to doubt, few expats will leave. Then there is the outcry, which seems to indicate it will me many. But it is what it is on an individual bases; the departures will be what they will be. And the Ecuadorians are fine with that.

    What’s more, isn’t the health system here under financial distress? Seems they have to make unpopular decisions to fix it. And if the expats cause a financial drain, which I imagine they do under the former system it’s a good place for the government to start.

    • StillWatching

      Captain, you use common sense, logic and reason to express yourself. Sadly, those things aren’t the currency that most of these readers deal in. Their emotions get in the way of logic and reason.

      • Captain_Eric

        Ha. Well, I agree with you. Emotions apparently are running high. Seems a bit selfish and/or immature.

        • StillWatching

          Just another aspect of human nature.

        • StillWatching

          Everybody wants something for nothing and many people are abused of the idea that when they get it from government, it is free. As if whatever government gives you didn’t come from taxes or debt.

  • StillWatching

    Your reasoning is sound but will go over the head of whiners with a sense of entitlement that causes them to think they are getting taken advantage of.

  • Rick

    We know a fraction of foreigners here, including our selves and the majority had IESS. It is very difficult to believe they show 272 members, only.
    Regarding the leaving, everyone is in the waiting stage now, not knowing how this private insurance will work. We know a group that left for Colombia, to live and friends that put their condo up for sale. Their retiremrnt visa would requure them to pay over $600 for IESS.

    • StillWatching

      All of what you have written is anecdotal evidence.

      Anecdotal evidence proves nothing.

      How many people do you know personally that have IESS insurance?

  • Donald

    Since the new and increased IESS monthly fee currently only applies to IX-1 pension visas and since, according to article above, raising fees on other visas seems like a long shot, does anyone have any information as to whether IX-1 visa holders will be permitted to apply for and change to a different visa, such as, for example, a professional visa, for which the IESS fee would continue to be based on the minimum wage ($375?) and thus cost a great deal less per month than the fee for a pension visa?

  • Andrew

    Beth, you need to reread my comment.
    Now they want to take nearly 20℅ out of my and my wife’s pension. See I said Neary 20% out of my pension and nearly 20% out of my wifes. We are paying as individuals.

  • Ckd

    Arbitrary rate? It is my understanding it is what the Ecuadorian people pay of their salary for their insurance.

  • ecexplorer

    And the promoters want to publish the highest number possible as well. That way they create the illusion that there are so many expats here that they don’t have to interact with Ecuadorians or learn the language.