How to Use Medicare In Panama

Medicare is a health insurance plan available to United States citizens who are 65 or older. Medicare parts A and B are not accepted in Panama.

If you have the right Medicare Advantage Plan, you can use it for urgent care and emergencies in Panama, even if you live in Panama full-time.

It’s important to have the right Medicare Advantage plan. Watch the video to learn from an Expat Medicare Expert about getting the right Medicare Advantage Plan so you are covered for urgent care and emergencies in Panama.

If you use Medicare Advantage in Panama, you must pay for the upfront costs, and then file a claim with your insurance company to be reimbursed.

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In Panama, routine medical care is super affordable. It’s less than $20 to see a doctor without insurance or less than $50 to see a specialist without insurance. Many doctors speak English.

But it can get expensive if you need urgent care or a medical emergency, especially if you go to a private hospital. I paid $15,000 for nine days in the hospital when I had Covid last year. If you go to a public hospital, it will be more affordable.

If possible, you should get health insurance in Panama. Your choices for health insurance are:

1. Panama only health insurance is about $102 a month if you are 60-69. If you are over 70-79, it costs $125 a month. However, most companies are not writing new policies for anyone over the age of 74. And if you have preexisting conditions, you may not be able to get insurance. You must also be fully vaccinated for Covid to get Panama health insurance.

2. International health insurance will cover you globally, including Panama. But it’s expensive. A 66-year-old will pay about $4500 a year. The older you get, the higher the premium. They may exclude preexisting conditions. No Covid vaccine is required.

3. If you’re a US citizen and have the right Medicare Advantage plan, it will cover urgent care and emergencies in Panama. You can get Medicare regardless of your age or preexisting conditions. No Covid vaccine is required. So, a Medicare Advantage plan may be the best option for some. Watch this video to learn more.

See these articles about health insurance:

Health Insurance Options in Panama

Healthcare Options if you Cannot Get Health Insurance

panama healthcare

Jackie Lange

Jackie Lange is the founder of Panama Relocation Tours and lives in the highlands of Boquete Panama. She has helped thousands of people relocate to Panama.

Reader Interactions


  1. Joel Cane says

    Hello Jackie: Just watched you and Jeff Goble on Medicare Advantage options. I am so thankful for the comprehensive effort you provide towards information sharing regarding Panama relocation. I continue to try to help myself, though my beloved spouse still says “over my dead body.” Ultimately, I need to convince myself (and you-know-who) that the FIRST move is one of your tours. Again, bless ALL the Langes. Signed, Joel Cane, Surprise, Arizona

    • Jackie Lange says

      HI Joel

      Once “you know who” sees Panama, she will change her mind!

  2. Retired Doc says


    In many spanish speaking countries a lay person can go to the pharmacy and get many medicines that requires a gatekeeper’s prescription in the english speaking world over the counter.

    Is this also true of Panama? As a retired physician, that option is important to me.

    • Jackie Lange says

      You can get most medications without a prescription in Panama. The only exceptions are antibiotics and narcotics.

  3. Dale E. Horstman II says

    I’m planning to move to Panama in approximately one year. I have united health card advantage plan. I am now 69 years old. Also, can I deposit my SS check directly into a bank in Panama without penalty? And finally, approximately what does a modest, 2 bedroom apartment cost in David or Panama City? I am fluent in Spanish so language is no barrier, I am not looking to live near an expat community.
    Many Thanks in advance
    Dale Horstman

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hi Dale. See this article about getting your Social Security direct deposited into your Panama bank account —
      There is no penalty to get your retirement payment deposited into your Panama account.

      A modest furnished two bedroom will be less than $500 in David but about $900 in Panama City.

  4. Terry Rhodes says

    I am considering a move to Panama. I am a retired veteran. Are there any hospitals/clinics that would accept Tricare?

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