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Ecuador Postpones Health Insurance Requirement for Visitors

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© Getty Images View of the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. (photo via AlanFalcony / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

By Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse

Ecuador has recently revamped its immigration procedures.

Within the new legislation, there is a requirement that visitors prove they have health insurance when entering the country.

It is unclear within the new rules whether or not this will apply to all individuals entering the country or just to those visiting for more than 90 days, but if you are planning travel to the country, it is a good idea to be prepared.

In a statement, the Ministry of Tourism said that it “considers ‘health insurance for tourists’ a meaningful action for country’s tourism development due to the benefit it means when choosing Ecuador as a destination and the wellbeing of everyone visiting this wonderful country.”

The new rules were to go into effect May 1, 2018, after being previously postponed. The earliest that health insurance will be required now is July 22, 2018, after another 90-day delay.

If you are feeling a little left in the dark by the requirements, you are not alone. The details remain fuzzy—even to tour operators working within the country.

In an update to its clients, Metropolitan Touring noted the vagueness of the legislation.

“As you know, Metropolitan Touring, together with other industry players, has repeatedly requested that the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism clarify its numerous official press releases setting different dates for foreign visitors entering the country as tourists to show proof of health insurance covering the period of their stay in Ecuador,” says the statement.

It also notes that there are no clear guidelines for what will be required of travelers.

“Additionally, there are currently no official provisions explaining the minutiae of the application of the law (what type of insurance will be required, where the checkpoint will be, etc.) Thus, we are vigorously pursuing more concrete legal and operational details and will continue to inform you on any and all changes with respect to this matter,” the note says to clients.

One of the best ways to ensure that you are protected is to purchase travel insurance.

“Regardless of your destination, travel insurance is always a good idea. When traveling internationally, it is especially important to have medical benefits as many U.S. health insurance policies may not protect you when you’re out of the country,” said Dan Durazo, Allianz Global Assistance director, communications, USA.

“Emergency medical benefits, included in many travel insurance plans, can cover expenses resulting from treatment of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury during a trip,” Durazo added. “In fact, many healthcare providers outside the US may require travelers to pay for their care before they are discharged, and travel insurance can guarantee these payments so travelers do not have to pay out of pocket for treatment of significant illnesses or injuries.”

In case of serious medical emergencies, travel insurance companies can also arrange and pay for evacuations, returning travelers to their home countries for further medical treatment, something that can cost many thousands of dollars.

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Travel - U.S. Daily News: Ecuador Postpones Health Insurance Requirement for Visitors
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