A Veteran is anyone who has served in the United States military or the National Guard. A retired Veteran is one who served for an entire career, usually of 20 years or more.
In Panama retired Veterans and any Veteran who was discharged with a disability (0% – 100%) are covered under the Veteran Benefits in Panama. These Veterans are eligible for free medical care and free prescriptions in Panama at certain locations. In many cases, a Veteran’s spouse, dependent children, widows, and widowers are also eligible for free medical and prescriptions.
In Panama, there are currently:
♦ 5 medical clinics for Veterans,
♦ 7 pharmacies (with free home delivery)
♦ Multiple hospitals which accept VA or Tricare benefits
♦ plus a new Hospital Brisas for Veterans will be opening in late August 2017.
These following services are available to Veterans who qualify:
In-patient and Out-patient Care
Mental health care
Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation
Laboratory work including X-rays, Cat scans, MRI
If retired, or if the disability is listed on the FMP (Foreign Medical Program ) award letter, the veteran does not have to pay for services or medications. The Veteran approved pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals in Panama will bill VA directly.
Non-retired Veterans can only receive medical care and medications for service connected disabilities rated at 0% to 100%. The VA ID must state “Service Connected” under the picture and the veteran must be registered in FMP.
A veteran’s disability rating can be verified by his VA Award letter, VA Decision Letter, or the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) letter (if registered).
For any services of non-covered, not service connected, and not listed on the FMP letter, the veteran must pay and will not be reimbursed by VA. If the veteran has TRICARE insurance, then he/she can be reimbursed through Tricare.
There are Veteran Service Officers throughout Panama to offer guidance and assistance – at no charge. . The Veteran Service Officers will assist you with the necessary paperwork to file for medical benefits in Panama. You can reach them at www.HealthAlliance.com.pa or contact:
A few Veterans Service Officers are:
JR – We Care Chiriqui
Robby – We Care Chorrera
A Veterans Service Officer Can Help You With:
– Widow, dependent, spouse assistance and guidance with benefits
– DOD ID Card and C HAMPVA ID Renewa l guidance
– Guidance with application for VA Compensation increase or secondary
– Guidance with application for VA I ndividual Unemploy ability (IU)
– Casualty Assistance (Report of death to VA, DFAS, US Embassy, SS)
– Foreign Medical Program (FMP) Registration for treatment and medications in Panama
– Guidance on the VA Disability Benefit Q uestionnaire (DBQ) m edical exam for claims
– TRICARE claims submission guidance
– CHAMPVA application for spouse/children (100% T&P non-retired veterans)
– Spouse and dependent Chapter 35 Education benefit guidance for Panama
– Preparation of approval documents for university de grees with VA WEAMS
– Assistance and guidan ce with the required annual SS Proof of Life
– Guidance with E-Benefits, TRICARE, MyH ealtheVet, DFAS online accounts
– Guidance on Notic e of Disagreement (NOD) with VA for denied claim
– Explanation of the “Intent to File” a pplication for VA claims
– Asst with notifying VA of yo ur Panama residence for VA claim medical exams
What Do You Need to Get Treatment or Medications in Panama?
The documents required to receive medical assistance and/or medications in Panama:
(a) VA Disability Award Letter
(b) VA Disability Decision Letter
(c) Foreign Medical Program Letter
(b) Retiree ID Card (if retired) for TRICARE verification
To get these documents, Veterans can register and open an account with online E-Benefits to download many VA and service documents, apply for compensation, and read up or apply for many other benefits.
What is covered?
(a) Using TRICARE insurance, medical services and medications at hospitals and/or pharmacies that accept TRICARE. The veteran that has TRICARE insurance must be prepared to pay cash up-front. Hospitals reserve the right to accept or decline TRICARE. Ensure detailed receipts are secured to submit reimbursement claims to TRICARE. Claims can be submitted online once you register an online account with TRICARE Overseas (SOS) at http://www.tricareoverseas.com/Beneficiaries.htm You have 3 years to submit your claim from overseas.
(b) VA Foreign Medical Program (FMP), for VA service connected disabilities adjudicated at 0% to 100% are covered completely overseas for the disabilities listed on the FMP letter.
Does the veteran have to pay for services in advance then reimbursed by the
(a) If the disability is listed on the FMP award letter, the veteran does not have to pay for services or medications. We Care Pharmacy will provide the prescribed medications and bill VA directly.
(b) For any services of non-covered, non service connected, and not listed on the FMP letter, the veteran must pay and will not be reimbursed by VA. If the veteran has TRICARE insurance, then he/she can be reimbursed by submitting a claim to TRICARE online.
For Military Retirees Only:
If living in Panama, ensure you are enrolled in TRICARE Standard Overseas (TSO). If not, call the TRICARE customer service 215-942-8393 or 877-451-8659 to get this done. You must disenroll from TRICARE Prime to be placed on TSO.
Create your online TRICARE overseas account so you can manage and view your Explanation of Benefits (EOBs) and also upload claims direclty to the TRICARE claims department. http://www.tricare-overseas.com/
Create your DFAS MyPay account. If you are receiving retired military pay, and do not have a DFAS MyPay account, go to https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx and create your account. At this site you can manage changes to your account,download the 1099-R and 1095-B for tax time, and many other options.
Create your online account with VA E-benefits to view your VA compensation payments, apply for VA compensation, request copies of your DD-214, military personnel and medical files. It is a lot easier if you already have a DFAS MyPay account.
If you have questions or require assistance, send an email to JR, a volunteer Veterans Service Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU DO NOT QUALIFY for Veteran benefits in Panama, don’t feel like you are stuck living close to a VA Hospital in the US. In Panama, a routine doctor visit is $10 to $15 without insurance. Once you get a residency Visa in Panama, you can use the Social Security or public hospitals in Panama where it is only $1.50 to see a doctor and get substantial discounts on medications. After a heart attack, a friend was in a public hospital for 10 days – his total bill was under $1,000. Medical care is much more affordable in Panama.. and I personally think the quality of care is much better too. Health insurance is available even if you have preexisting conditions.
IMPORTANT NOTE: ***
MEDICARE cannot be used in Panama. You cannot cancel MEDICARE Part-B at any time or you will drop out of TRICARE and not be insured.
In the United States, all veterans are entitled to 100% care at any VA hospital, service-connected or not.
Overseas, veterans can only receive medical care and medications for service connected disabilities rated at 0% to 100%. The VA ID must state “Service Connected” under the picture and the veteran must be registered in FMP.
I know it all sounds complicated.
But understand, if you are a retired Veteran or were in the military and discharged with a disability (even 0%), you may be eligible for free medical and prescriptions in Panama. A Veterans Service Office in Panama can help you get set up for these services. Contact http://www.healthalliance.com.pa/ for more details