Panama has some of the most modern health care facilities in all of Latin America. Many Panamanian doctors studied in the USA, Canada or Europe and speak English. Panama's hospitals are excellent. The USA's number one ranked
hospital, the Johns Hopkins Medical Center, is affiliated with the new Punta Pacifica Hospital in Panama City. The Johns Hopkins publication,
The Dome, boasts that the Punta Pacifica Hospital, "offers state-of-the-art diagnostic and clinical care."
Panama City hosts other renowned hospitals. Centre Medico Paitilla,
catered to the ex-Shah of Iran. Hospital Nacional is an affiliate of
Family Hospital Group of Boston, Massachusetts. Many consider
Hospital Santo Tomas the best public hospital in Latin America. Standard medical care, surgery, hospitalization, and dental care in Panama are less than half the cost in the U.S. or Europe. For example, an MRI costs around US$900 in Panama and about US$2,000 in the United States.
What about U.S. tourists needing emergency medical care in Panama? The U.S. State Department claims a U.S. consular officer can assist in locating medical services, contacting family, and help transferring funds from the U.S. "However, payment of hospital and other expenses is the responsibility of the traveler."
Before leaving your country, learn what medical services your health insurance covers overseas. You can use BUPA (British insurer) and Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Panama if you bought their overseas coverage. If you do have overseas coverage, remember to bring both your insurance policy identity card and a blank claim form.
The U.S. Social Security Medicare program does not provide coverage for hospital or medical costs outside of the USA. Canada and most other national health care systems have similar restrictions when domiciling in Panama.
Can U.S. Veterans get medical assistance in Panama? Hospital Nacional offers complete medical care for members of the Department of Veterans Affairs including ambulatory services, laboratory, radiology, and a pharmacy. Their Tricare Service programs provides inpatient and outpatient care for active and retired members of the U.S. Army.
What about Health Insurance policies in Panama?
BUPA International (a British company since 1947) is the world's largest international expatriate health insurer. They offer complete medical, surgery and hospital coverage up to US$1.6 million. They even provide coverage for outpatient and dental care in Panama. They accept applications up to the age of 70.
International Health Insurance (IHI) of Denmark is available through CONASE in Panama providing complete medical, surgery and hospital coverage up to US$1.5 million. Anyone under the age of 75 can apply.
Blue Cross/Blue Shield is sold in Panama through Internacional de Seguros Company. They offer medical coverage up to US$1 million. However, the maximum age for application is 62 years.
Hospital Santa Fe near the Panama Canal offers hospitalization and surgery with outpatient services. They offer an affordable medical plan for people over the age of 60.
In Panama, you can find good quality medical care, state of the art surgery and modern hospitalization at prices far less than in the United States, Canada or Europe.
Panama City Hospital Emergency Rooms
The Johns Hopkins Medical Center at Punta Pacifica