Ecuador: Government Plans Health Care for Citizens Living Illegally Abroad

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The Ecuadorian government announced today that it is looking to introduce a health  plan covering its citizens living as illegal immigrants in Spain and the United States.

Ecuadorian immigrants who lost their health coverage in Spain because of the recent crisis would therefore be able to access to medical insurance provided by the Rafael Correa’s government, the news website Infobae reported today. Immigrants who do not have insurance in the United States would also fall under the same umbrella.

Ramiro Gonzalez, chairman of the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS), said he hopes the plan will be introduced this year. Gonzalez will travel on 20th May to New York to address the situation of Ecuadorians who have no access to health services because they lack documents.

Gonzalez said 80% of Ecuadorians living in the United States are illegal immigrants. The opposite happens in Spain, where only 20% of Ecuadorians migrants do not have official papers.

The head of the IESS said he expects the agreement with the United States to create the “first insurance policy giving extraterritorial health care to the volunteers affiliates.”

Gonzalez also recalled that Ecuador has an agreement with the Spanish Social Security for “pension portability,” allowing people from both nations to retire in Ecuador or Spain, regardless of which country they worked in.

The Ecuadorian Embassy in Spain also expressed “deep concern” about the spending cuts announced by Mariano Rajoy’s government, especially those affecting public health as they will affect only the “most vulnerable immigrants,” read a statement released by the embassy.

The cuts will save the state an estimated €500 milllion. So far, Spanish law states that foreigners who are registered to a municipality “are entitled to healthcare under the same conditions of Spanish people.”

The Ecuadorian community is the the largest one from Latin America in Spain.

About six million foreigners of all nationalities call Spain home, according to statistics released by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). Almost 460,000 of them are paperless, even though the figure is believed to be extremely inaccurate. Most of them come from EU countries, and therefore have no obligation to sign up to the tax registry.

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