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Health care and health insurance costs continue to go up in the United States. For retirees living on a fixed income, it has become harder to afford health care and health insurance. Many factors contribute to the price of health insurance premiums, such as state and federal laws regulating costs, where you live, whether you get insurance through your employer, and which type of plan you choose. According to Investopedia, in 2019, annual premiums for health coverage for a family of four cost $20,576, but employers picked up 71% of that cost. The rise in health costs may be one reason wages haven’t risen much over the past two decades. The highest benchmark plan premium for a 27-year-old in 2020 is Wyoming’s, at $723; the lowest is New Mexico’s, at $282.4. Deductibles can vary according the size of the firm you work for or by the type of plan you buy on the exchanges.
If you’re over 65, you probably have Medicare. But Medicare does not cover 100% of the costs of your health care and out of pocket expenses keep going up and up.
SO, WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
Many Americans are choosing to move to Panama to significantly reduce their costs of living including lower health care and health insurance costs.
In Panama, healthcare expenses are based on the local cost of living which is much less than the United States or Canada. In addition, frivolous lawsuits are non-existence in Panama so malpractice insurance is very low for doctors. For these reasons, Panama healthcare and health insurance cost a small fraction of what they would cost in the North America. Despite the lower costs, the quality of care is high. A routine doctor visit at their private office is only $12, with no appointment necessary. Or you can go to the public hospital where it is only $2 to see a doctor.
Panama has a two-tier health care system. There are public hospitals and there are private (for profit) hospitals.
NO MONTHLY FEE – PAY AS YOU GO – PUBLIC HOSPITALS
When you relocate to Panama, you can use the public health care system. There is no monthly fee and no age restriction. There are no restrictions for pre-exising condition. You’ll pay about $2 to see a doctor or $5 for a specialists.
A few months ago, a lady who came on a Panama Relocation Tour had emergency surgery at a public hospital in Chitre. She was in the hospital 6 days. Her total cost was $150.
Many expats living in Panama use the pubic health care system instead of buying health insurance.
A neighbor was hospitalized at the public hospital in David after having a heart attack. After 10 days in the public hospital, his cost was less than $1000 including MRIs, Cat Scans, medications and the best cardiologists in Chiriqui Province.
With these kind of prices, you can see why many expats just use the public health care system.
HEALTH INSURANCE OPTIONS
You can get insurance which only covers you in Panama. Or, you can get international health insurance which will cover you in Panama or any other country.
Because health insurance is so affordable in Panama I think it is wise to get health insurance when you can afford to. With a higher deductible, you can reduce your monthly or annual premium. Health insurance prices will depend on your age.
You have several choices for health insurance. It’s better to buy health insurance directly from the insurance company because “some” insurance agents in Panama will add 40-50% to the costs.
PANAMA ONLY INSURANCE
MAPFRE offers Panama only insurance or international health insurance. Mapfre has the best network of doctors and hospitals in the country. You’ll be covered for preventive medicine, 100% emergencies, hospitalization and consultations with accessible copays, maternity, laboratories and X-rays. You can select a higher deductible to keep your monthly premium low. Their website is only in Spanish but if you send them an email or call, they will have an English speaking representative contact you. A 59 year old friend has Mapfre. She went with a $5000 deductible so her monthly premium is only $69 per month.
MS-PANAMA is one of few insurance companies that has no age restrictions. They cover 80% of your non-emergency medical costs and 100% of emergency costs. If you are over 65, they will require you to get an EKG and lab work. MS-PANAMA may exclude some pre-existing conditions the first year or two then cover then at 50% after that. See their brochure in English here. MS-Panama offers family discounts. Their costs are very reasonable:
30-39 – $46 per month
40-49 – $63 per month
50-59 – $82 per month
60-69 – $102 per month
70-79 – $125 per month
80+ – $180 per month
Some of the hospitals in Panama have their own health insurance plans like Santa Fe Insurance which is $130 per month
INTERNATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE
Since moving to Panama, I’ve had international health insurance with United Healthcare through IMGLOBAL Medical Insurance. At 65, I pay $2500 a year with a $500 deductible then I’m covered 100% up to $4,000,000 per year. International health insurance means I’m covered at any hospital or doctor in Panama or the United States or any other country.
Since the pandemic began in March, Panama Relocation Tours has been hosting a weekly conference call to interview people who live in Panama or a call to answer your questions. We know you’re anxious to come check out Panama or ready to relocate to Panama so we hope these calls are keeping you informed about what life is like in Panama.
On August 29th, I interviewed Laura who came on a Panama Relocation Tour then relocated from Hong Kong to Panama. She arrived just a few weeks before Panama closed down their borders and shut off transportation between provinces. She stayed in El Valle de Anton for a few months before starting a house sitting gig in the Pearl Islands. Listen to the replay to learn about her experiences in both places and her advice for anyone considering doing house sitting.
We’ve been offering 6-day 7-night all-inclusive Panama Relocation Tours since 2010 and have completed 122 relocation tours. We’ve helped more than 1200 people relocate to Panama. No one has as much experience helping people relocate to Panama. We have the experience you can trust, and need, when making a life changing decision to relocate to Panama. Don’t settle for less! We have hundreds of 5-star rave reviews on our website, facebook, youtube and TripAdvisor.
Because our tours are so popular, they are sold out through the end of 2021 but we may be able to add additional spots on tours and add new tour dates once we know for sure when we can start doing tours again.
Panama is opening their borders to international travelers October 12th. We would love to start doing tours the end of October but we don’t know what the requirements will be for people coming in to Panama. If they only require a Covid test we can start doing tours the end of October. But if they require a 14-day quarantine we will not be able to start doing tours yet. As soon as we know the details we will let you know.
As far as we know, even after October 12th, Panama will still require that you wear a mask when you are in public and going in to stores.
THREE SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU MOVE TO PANAMA FASTER!!
If you’re in a hurry to relocate to Panama and can’t wait for an opening for a Panama Relocation Tour, here are three ideal solutions:
ONLINE PANAMA RELOCATION GUIDE! We also offer an Online Panama Relocation Guide. It has the same information that you’d get on a Panama Relocation Tour including our rolodex of reliable and affordable immigration lawyers, honest real estate agents/property managers, where to buy health insurance for 40% less, how to find the best place to live, getting pets in to Panama and much more. You also get access to our private community forum and our private phone numbers so you have someone readily available to answer your questions and offer help when you need it.
On Friday, the Online Panama Relocation Guide will also include information on how to do a self-guided tour in Panama. Because of the pandemic, we realize that you may not want to get on a big bus with 15 other people so the self-guided tour is ideal. You’ll learn where to stay, who to contact to show you rentals, get a list of places to visit and more.
PRIVATE TOURS! After October 12th, if there is no 14-day quarantine required, we will offer private tours for specific towns, provinces or all over Panama. The private tours will be limited to not more than 3 people in a luxury sedane. Details about private tours will be released next week.
We here to help!
LIFE LINE! Whether you take a Panama Relocation Tour, buy the Online Panama Relocation Guide or take a Private Tour, you’ll get our list of reliable and honest bi-lingual contacts in each area who will help you when you move to Panama. For NO additional charge, they will be your life-line to help you with:
♦ Finding a house/condo to rent
♦ Renting or buying a car
♦ Immigration lawyers who will help with Visa and Cedula
♦ Setting up a bank account
♦ Translate when necessary
♦ Help you get a Panama cell phone or SIM
♦ Get utilities set up if necessary
♦ Help you get a driver’s license
♦ International movers for household goods and cars
♦ Pet relocation to Panama
♦ Help you get health insurance (40% less than using an agent/broker)
♦ Show you popular expat hang-outs and introduce you to new friends
♦ Show you where doctor, dentists, vet and hospital are located
♦ Where to get a hair cut and mani-pedi
♦ Popular grocery stores and restaurants
♦ International and bi-lingual schools
♦ and much more
These are all people who have lived in Panama at least 5 years! They will be readily available to help you when you relocate to Panama.
Do you like that view in the photo above? That the view where we stay the first night of a Panama Relocation Tour! It’s about 20 minutes west of Coronado. One thing you’ll hear over and over again is how much everyone on the tour loves the places where we stay and the amazing meals during the tour. Of course, they also appreciate our big super comfortable bus with reclining seats, individual climate controls and huge windows to enjoy the beautiful views of Panama. We have a professional driver the the entire tour so we can focus 100% of our attention on YOU and not driving. Your safety and comfort is our #1 priority!
Since 2010 we’ve been doing Panama Relocation Tours. We’ve completed 122 relocation tours and helped more than 1200 people relocate to Panama. We have the experience you can trust, and need, when moving to Panama.
Q & A Conference Call Replay
Thank you to the 357 people who were on the live Q & A conference call about moving to Panama. The replay of the August 22nd call is available below. We had a lot of questions so the call lasted about 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Ever Saturday since the pandemic began we’ve been hosting a weekly conference call to either interview people who live in Panama or to answer your questions about moving to Panama. Our next conference call is Saturday, August 29th.
TIME: 5pm Central (6pm Eastern, 4pm Mountain, 3pm Pacific)
ACCESS CODE: 120440#
Click on the link below to listen to the replay of the last Q & A conference call
Special Report About Panama’s Future
Today, my friend Bob Adams published a special report about where Panama is now and what the future looks like post-Covid. He gave me permission to share the report with you. Bob has lived in Panama City for 16 years and has spent the last 50 years analyzing economies and governments worldwide. He knows how to read the economic indicators and make sense of it. Click on the link below to read the report. I want to draw special attention to two warnings that Bob has in this report – real estate sales and business sales. Lately, we’ve seen a lot of crazy claims about real estate opportunities (both residential and agriculture) with crazy claims of guaranteed returns. And we’ve seen “business broker” come out of the woodwork all the sudden. BEWARE of them both. Prices are coming down and I anticipate that they will come down a lot more over the next 24 months. As always, we highly recommend that you live in Panama for at least 6-12 months before you even think about making a buying decision for real estate and certainly for a business.