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Hospitals, Health & Insurance. 12

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by August 14 2017 0

A new study by Colombia’s health ministry (Ministerio de Salud) found that Suramericana EPS, Sanitas EPS and Aliansalud EPS were rated the top-three health insurance network providers by patients in the “contributory” (user-pays, employer-pays) “Entidades Prestadoras de Salud” (EPS) health-coverage sector.

However, the study didn’t cover health-care consumers in the prepaid sector – an attractive insurance alternative for many wealthier expats (and richer Colombians).

Several companies including Suramericana and Coomeva offer prepaid health insurance coverage in Colombia. However, these policies are much more expensive than EPS policies -- and they’re beyond the budget of most Colombians.

In addition, only Coomeva offers prepaid health insurance to people 60 years and older, which puts most older expats (and native Colombians) either at the mercy of relatively slow EPS coverage for certain expensive and optional procedures, and for certain drugs -- or else paying cash/credit for faster, broader services and broader drug options.

Still, people in the prepaid insurance system also must buy a complimentary EPS policy -- which effectively helps subsidize the cost of coverage for millions of others stuck in EPS networks.

As for the “subsidized” EPS sector (mainly for indigents), the top three EPS networks in the Ministry study were Associação Mutual Ser Empresa ESS; Caja de Compensacion Familiar de la Guajira; and Asociacion Mutual Barrios Unidos de Quibdo, according to the ministry report .

In all, the top 13 EPS networks in the contributive sector were (in order):

1. Suramericana EPS
2. Sanitas EPS
3. Aliansalud EPS
4. Nueva EPS
5. Compensar EPS
6. Salud Total EPS
7. EPS Famisanar
8. Saludvida EPS
9. Coomeva EPS
10. Servicio Occidental de Salud EPS
11. Comfenalco Valle EPS
12. Cruz Blanca EPS
13. Cafesalud EPS

The top 10 EPS’s in the subsidized sector were:


1. Asociacion Mutual Ser
2. CCF de la Guajira
3. Ambuq ARS
4. Coosalud EPS
5. Comfacor
6. Comfaoriente
7. Comfasucre
8. CCF Cajacopi Atlantico
9. Emdisalud ESS
10. Ecoopsos ESS


For the study, health-services consumers were asked to rate companies by 51 indicators, with 24 indicators relating to the opportunity to receive certain services, 19 relating to relative satisfaction with services, and eight relating to the ease-of-access to services.

However, a relatively high ranking as indicated in the Ministry study doesn’t mean that all patients are happy with health services. On the contrary: Many of the more-complex, more-expensive health services and certain high-cost drugs aren’t readily available in EPS networks, or at least not very timely.

What’s worse, hospitals and clinics that provide such EPS services too often face enormous delays in reimbursement -- with past-due bills running into the billions of dollars (see Medellin Herald stories in the “hospitals, health and insurance” subcategory under the “Antioquia” main category).

As a result, various hospitals and clinics around Colombia have at times been forced to delay paying wages to hospital workers and vendors – in certain cases, for months at a time. Some hospitals have been shuttered permanently.

What’s more, several national EPS networks have gone bankrupt or have drastically reduced services in many areas, as income simply hasn’t been anywhere near enough to cover expenses -- or (in certain cases) mismanagement and corruption have destroyed the business.

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by January 03 2017 0

Editor's Note: The following article -- originally authored in Spanish by Colombia Ministry of Health economist Jhon Gonzalez Lindarte -- is reprinted by special permission granted to Medellin Herald by El Pulso, the monthly newsletter published by Medellin-based San Vicente Fundacion.

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by November 21 2016 0

Medellin’s hospital, clinic and dental sector enjoys an expanding reputation for high quality and relatively low prices -- which explains why an increasing number of resident expats and medical tourists come here for all sorts of surgical procedures.

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by October 25 2016 0

On the heels of finalizing a US$50 million strategic investment deal with U.S.-based Christus Health last month, Colombian health insurer and clinic operator Coomeva is moving to rationalize its service network and shore-up its financially troubled “Coomeva EPS” subsidiary.

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by June 20 2016 0

At a June 17 press conference at the World Economic Forum in Medellin, Coca-Cola FEMSA (Latin America) CEO John Santa Maria joined with PepsiCo Latin America CEO Laxman Narasimhan and Postobon (Colombia) president Miguel Escobar in unveiling a nationwide “Healthy Future” campaign aiming to educate consumers on diet and exercise regimes to avoid obesity.

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by February 19 2016 0

New York’s world-famous Mount Sinai Hospital announced February 18 that it has finalized a “clinical alliance” deal with Medellin-based San Vicente Fundacion (SVF), aiming to “transform access to health care for communities within Latin America.”

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by November 09 2015 0

Thanks to big investments recently in hospital/clinic infrastructure, high technology, multinational training, prestigious certifications and new international alliances, metro Medellin is broadening its reputation as a destination for “international medicine” -- as opposed to just “medical tourism,” the latter often perceived as relatively simple plastic surgery or dental work.

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by October 29 2015 0

While the number of foreigners coming to metro Medellin for relatively low-cost, high-quality medical and dental procedures continues to grow, windows of opportunity have only just started to open.

Published in Hospitals, Health & Insurance. Written by September 15 2015 0

While medical tourism is a growing business for metro Medellin thanks to a reputation for high quality and competitive prices, the national public health system is mired in a financial crisis (see Medicine in Medellin: The National Health Care System, Part Two).

SILLETEROS PARADE 2016 by JOHN AND DONNA STORMZAND (click to enlarge)

MEDELLÍN PHOTOS by Gabriel Buitrago (click to enlarge)

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About Medellin Herald

Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

Medellin Herald welcomes your editorial contributions, comments and story-idea suggestions. Send us a message using the "contact" section.

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