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Healthcare Examples to Follow: Colombia

Updated on April 21, 2013
Excellent physicians provide care in Colombia
Excellent physicians provide care in Colombia | Source

A system that truly works for everyone

As legislators haggle about healthcare reforms in the U.S., I'm in awe of the healthcare system in Colombia, South America, and I wish the U.S. would take note.

In Colombia health insurance companies do not exist, so no middle man. People here choose the healthcare system that fits their needs. The health care systems are privately owned for the most part, with the government owning the "Nueva EPS". Each system includes a large hospital, doctor's offices, laboratories and screening equipment for exams.

An individual here decides which healthcare system then want to belong to, and pay directly into that system. The monthly premium is based on a person's income and the number of individuals in the household. Most families pay between $20-$100 per month, and when they are seen by a physician there is a small copay of $2-10. The healthcare includes medications with a small copay. I receive my monthly prescriptions (2 medications) for a copay of $2. Individuals who cannot afford even this healthcare are provided with free care at a government facility.

Some systems are better than others, and there are plenty of complaints. Sometimes the wait to see the physician might be 2 weeks, and the wait for elective surgery might be as long as a month. In order to see a specialist, one must first see the primary physician and be referred to the specialist, not very different from the U.S. system.

I don't hear any complaints though about the cost of healthcare, or the quality of the care that individuals receive. When I have gone to a Dr. appointment I have only had to wait 15 minutes, and the Dr. spent at least 20 minutes with me during each visit. I see the same Dr. each time and all of my medical information is in the computer system.

I would love for this healthcare system to be copied in the U.S. but I'm afraid that the insurance companies would never allow that to happen-it would put their multimillion dollar business down the tubes and would be much too efficient! Imagine paying your monthly premium directly to the hospital of your choice, with no middle-man! When did insurance companies get involved? Are they truly necessary? Hospitals and physician's offices would also benefit from not having to spend hours and countless personnel coding files and filing insurance claims.

I love this system and I'm glad I'm here most of the year where I can afford healthcare, where my Dr. knows me by name, and where everyone is covered! People have a choice as to where they will receive their healthcare and their premiums are based on their income.

Listen up, U.S. law makers!


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Other countries, such as Colombia, Canada, and France have healthcare systems that provide services with little or not cost to people. It is as you say, that the US service providers may be afraid to lose what they have.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      I agree with you. We're so afraid of change, aren't we? Thanks for your comment and thoughts!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Your Hub should be read by every American. People fear universal health care. The power brokers spin their lies and people believe. I read a Hub from a lady in Canada who loves her health care and it is also universal.. I believe if President Obama is elected again and people see how much better UHC is they will love it. I am talking about the middle class. The wealthy have no worries about health care..Thank's for sharing...

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Hi Again, Yes I was writing about Colombia. When you said "your president" I was confused because my president is Obama right now...I'm a guest in Colombia. Most of the healthcare systems here are privately owned with the exception of the NuevaEPS which is the government's alternative but it is also excellent.

      Why can't the U.S. do the same? Because the insurance companies don't want to be put out of business and they have the $ to keep congress on their side. As in many other situations, there's a much better, more efficient way to do things but someone stands to lose a lot of money so we continue with inefficiency and high costs.

      Thanks for your interest and comments, and yes it's lovely living here.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      debbiepinkston...your hub was about Colombia South America correct? from what I understand from a friend that lived there, they were pleased with the stressless lifestyle..12-2 break in the day..and inexpensive COL..and excellent healthcare. My question is how can they do it and why can't the US do it ? Because the healthcare system in Colombia is private owned, is this correct? No government interference or control..if I understand correctly...hope I got it right...

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Hi KJ Force, thanks for the comment. Which country are you referring to? I'm from the U.S. but live in Colombia. I'd like to find out more once I know if you're referring to the U.S. or Colombia.

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 5 years ago from Florida

      debbiepinkston...interesting that your country has found a Healthcare syatem that works..I understand according to your country's leader that all insurance companies will be gone by 2013...don't understand if this is so great, why have no other countries followed suit ? This doesn't appear to have Socialized medicine that correct ? would like to know more info on this matter...enjoyed the hub..thanks for sharing..