Panama is incredibly popular as an expat destination. People flock there for the good weather and relaxed lifestyle. They might also relocate there due to their company opening offices in the country.
Of course when it comes to moving to Panama the practicalities of moving to an entirely different country need to be considered. One of the most important considerations is healthcare. As with any trip abroad, when you live in Panama you will need expat health insurance.
The capital, Panama City is quite developed in terms of it’s healthcare provisions. It has emergency services available and the most investment in terms of hospitals. It’s when you get to more rural areas of Panama that you find facilities are often lacking.
Private Panama Hospitals
Private hospitals are often the first choice for expats as they are well equipped and waiting times can be shorter. These are obviously going to be more expensive and one of the reasons why expat health insurance is important. When you take out your insurance you can specify the type of cover you want, so it’s good to be very sure about what you want when you buy it.
The cost of public healthcare in Panama is cheaper than many western countries, a visit to the Emergency Room will cost around $100 whereas speaking to a specialist about your condition will cost around $50. The problem isn’t one of cost for foreigners, it is more one of having enough doctors to look after the patients and the right facilities to care for them.
It isn’t all bad, the Punta-Pacifica hospital is the most advanced hospital in South America in terms of technology. This is in the capital, but many expats do relocate to the capital so they do have good facilities.
US Trained doctors
A large proportion of doctors in Panama have been trained in the US so standards are high. In some of the most modern hospitals the standards can compare favourably with western hospitals.
Anyone planning to stay in a more rural part of the country is likely to need emergency evacuation cover in their insurance policy so they are able to get treatment swiftly in another location that offers up to date medical facilities.
Panama is a great country to relocate to. Like many countries, especially in the developing world it’s healthcare system has some faults but if you plan ahead and get the right insurance cover you can make sure that you don’t suffer any significant issues.
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