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Adventures in Immigration


Lars Porsenna
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My latest news about my immigration status: I just got word yesterday that my visa has been issued, & my lawyer emailed the document to me. So I am now a legal resident of Ecuador! Next step however, is that I need to purchase health insurance, before I can apply for a cedula (a national ID card, used for a number of different transactions here, especially for setting up a bank account). My intention has always been to buy into the Government healthcare system (called IESS down here; Ecuador has a hybrid public/private healthcare system, where everyone is enrolled into the government program, but some choose to buy private supplementary insurance, or simply pay out of pocket for private doctors, especially the extranjeros), however my lawyer informed me that I need private healthcare first, THEN I can get my cedula, & only after I have my cedula can I buy into the public healthcare system. There are several options for short term (month-to-month) health insurance programs that I am looking into.

 

In other news, we put a down payment on land to build a house, rather than buy a ready built one. Part of this is because she wants to be close to her family (the land is literally right around the block, & the block is almost 90% owned by relatives of her), & because we specifically are looking for a pool & an office for me, for work & to serve as a hobby room for my models (& possibly restarting a figure collection; we'll see -- anything Reaper I would need to self-import, FREX). It will also have space for 2 cars, in case she eventually wants one, or possibly to be improved into a storefront (many homes have such a feature, in fact).

 

On the job front, I am studying to get certification as a Helpdesk Engineer, which should net me more money than I am earning now (almost double, in fact). With that kind of money, we should be able to live very, very comfortable down here.

 

Damon.

Edited by Lars Porsenna
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So far I have had a couple of encounters with Ecuadorian healthcare, that I thought I'd share here.

 

For those of you that do not know, Ecuador has a mixed Public/Private healthcare system. Anyone & everyone that draws a paycheck (this is an important distinction because of the level of the informal economy here) pays into the National Healthcare System called IESS (Instituido Ecuatoriano Seguro Social, or Institute of Ecuadorian Social Security). National healthcare here is MANDIATORY, & everyone has equal access to it. Several of my wife's uncles & cousins work at the Government Hospital here in Manta.

 

Alongside that is a private healthcare system, which can be paid for out of pocket, or via private insurance. From talking to other Ecuadorians, the biggest difference between the two is that if you schedule an appointment with a private doctor, they can get you in immediately, or within a few days. The government you might have to wait a week. Emergency care with the government is immediate.

 

What many expats do down here is pay into the national government system (expats are not obligated to do so, specifically), to be used for emergency or catastrophic care, & use private for more routine care (either with or without private insurance.) Many Ecuadorians in the middle class also do this.

 

So I went to see a diabetes doctor today, & it was interesting because the level of care I received was different. The office had solely the doctor, & a secretary. No nurses at all. As soon as the doctor was ready, he saw me; no need for a nurse to get vitals, while I sat around in a room waiting to be seen. There was also no separate exam rooms. I was seen in the doctor's office directly, which had the basic equipment needed to do an exam. The doctor also did an ultrasound of my feet, to check circulation. This was NEVER done in the US, which is something I found very interesting. Overall the visit was very rapid & efficient. A much better experience than I have ever had in the US.

 

The other interesting thing about it was that the doctor received his specialization education in Cuba, which is renowned for high quality healthcare. And not something you would ever encounter in the US.

 

Overall the visit cost me out-of-pocket $40 (I had seen a generalist sometime before, & they usually charge between $15 to $20, & still make house calls). Overall a refreshing difference from when I had visited doctor's offices in the US.

 

Damon.

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4 hours ago, Lars Porsenna said:

In other news, just felt an earthquake here. It was a small one, 4.0 to the south. But felt it I did. But this is normal for this part of the world.
 

Damon.


After I moved to California, the first earthquake at 3am scared the hell out of me. But I fell back asleep and missed the second one 15 minutes later. First one I was actually awake for was in a terribly marginal building. Asked the old grey beard I was working with if we should duck under the desks. He shrugged and said, “if you want to.”

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16 hours ago, Lars Porsenna said:

In other news, just felt an earthquake here. It was a small one, 4.0 to the south. But felt it I did. But this is normal for this part of the world.
 

Damon.


Portovelo, Ecuador. 
44 miles below surface. 
Do you have the QuakeFeed app on your phone? It is nifty. 

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