Alleged reason for medical insurance requirement: Venezuela

Over the past 12 months, there have been several aborted attempts by the government of Ecuador to impose a mandatory medical insurance requirement for all people visiting Ecuador.   There has been a push-back on the part of the national tourism sector.   The result has been an on-going on-again/off-again status for the requirement, with the government announcing a date on which visitors will be required to show evidence of insurance on arrival, only to have that date postponed by several months just a few weeks before the requirement was set to kick-in.  Readers of the CNH Tours news section will have followed this saga through a few stories published here.

We've been hearing that the motivation behind this requirement lies with the country's efforts to deal with an increasing number of Venezuelan migrants - most of which are leaving their home country in search of economic opportunities.    Over 500,000 are reported to have arrived in Ecuador so far this year alone (that's a whopping 3% of the total Ecuadorian population).   The reasoning linking the medical insurance requirement to the Venezuelan migrants proposes that the Ecuadorian government must be dealing with an important rise in demand for medical services from this group - while most arriving Venezuelans are not properly insured, or not insured at all.   This leaves the Ecuadorian tax payer footing the bill. 

The Guardian newspaper (out of the UK) does a good job illustrating the plight of the Venezuelans and the impact on Ecuador in its paper today.   To see the article, click here.