In Panama retired Veterans, and any Veteran who was honorably discharged with a VA awarded disability of 0% to 100%, are covered under the VA Foreign Medical Program (FMP) in Panama. These Veterans are eligible for VA-FMP covered medical care and medication prescriptions in Panama at certain locations. In many cases, a Veteran’s spouse, dependent children, widows and widowers are also eligible for medical services and prescriptions. Assistance will be provided to verify eligibility.
In Panama, the following pharmacies and clinics accept VA-FMP, CHAMPVA, and TRICARE:
(1) Your Pharmacy, Panama City
Doctor Care Clinic / Physical Therapy
(2) Ocean Pharmacy, Panama City
(3) We Care Pharmacy, David, Chiriqui
Doctor Care Clinic / Physical Therapy
(4) We Care Pharmacy2 – Chorrera
Doctor Care Clinic / Physical Therapy
(5) Blue Pharmacy, Panama City
(6) Blue Pharmacy2, Chitre, Azuero
Doctor Care Clinic 978-8201
(7) Care Pharmacy, Panama City
(8) Sky Pharmacy, Panama City
(9) Hospital Brisas, Brisas del Golf, Panama City
The following medical 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, MRIs
Dental care at the Chorrera Clinic (cost share)
If disabled, and the disability is listed on the VA-FMP (Foreign Medical Program ) award letter, the veteran does not have to pay for services or medications. The above listed pharmacies, clinics, or hospitals in Panama will bill VA-FMP directly.
Disabled 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 VA-FMP.
A veteran’s disability rating can be verified by his VA Award letter, VA Decision Letter, the Foreign Medical Program (FMP) letter (if registered) or with his online E-Benefits account.
For non service connected medical services, not listed on the VA-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.
Retirees that only have TRICARE coverage must pay the required 25% deductible when receiving medicval services or medications.
Over the counter (OTC) medications are not covered by VA-FMP, CHAMPVA or TRICARE and will not be issued by any pharmacy. OTC medications must be purchased by the patients.
There are Veteran Service Officers throughout Panama to offer guidance and assistance – at no charge. The Veteran Service Officers will assist and guide you with the necessary paperwork to file for medical benefits in Panama.
The Veteran Service Officer will provide assistance and guidance with:
– Widow, dependent, spouse assistance and guidance with benefits
– DOD ID Card and CHAMPVA ID Renewal guidance
– Guidance with application for VA Compensation, increase or secondary via E-Benefits
– Guidance with application for VA Individual Unemployability (IU)
– Casualty Assistance (Report of death to VA, DFAS, US Embassy, SS)
– VA Foreign Medical Program (FMP) Registration for medical services and medications in Panama
– Guidance on the VA Disability Benefit Questionnaire (DBQ) medical exam for VA disability claims
– TRICARE claims submission guidance via the online TRICARE account
– CHAMPVA application for spouse and children of 100% Total & Permanent (T&P) disabled non-retired veterans
– Spouse and dependent Chapter 35 Education benefit guidance for Panama
– Preparation of VA Form for approval of university degrees with VA for use of VA education benefits
– Assistance and guidance with the required annual SS Proof of Life
– Guidance with E-Benefits, TRICARE, MyHealtheVet and DFAS online accounts
– Guidance with Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with VA for denied VA disability claim
– Explanation and submission of the “Intent to File” application via E-Benefits for VA disability claims
– Assistance notifying VA of your Panama residence for required VA compensation and pension (C&P) medical exams
Most important is the annual Veterans Meeting in Panama City sponsored by HealthAlliance, Panama. Key guest speakers from VA and other agencies are invited. The meeting is followed by a luncheon where veterans and their spouses have the opportunity to meet and know veterans from all over Panama.
To register with HealthAlliance Panama, you must present one or more of the following documents:
(a) VA Disability Award Letter
(b) VA Disability Decision Letter
(c) VA Foreign Medical Program Letter
(d) ID Card (if retired) for TRICARE verification
(e) VA ID with “Service Connected” written under the foto
(f) CHAMPVA ID for spouse and dependents of 100% T&P non-retired veterans
Veterans must register for a Premium E-Benefits online account to download VA letters and documents, apply for disability compensation and access 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. Many hospitals reserve the right to accept or decline TRICARE. Ensure detailed receipts are secured from the hospital to submit reimbursement claims to TRICARE. You have 3 years to submit your claim from overseas. Claims can be submitted online once you create a TRICARE account at http://www.tricareoverseas.com/Beneficiaries.htm
(b) VA Foreign Medical Program (FMP) is for VA awarded disabilities from 0% to 100%. VA awarded disabilities are 100% covered overseas if listed on the VA-FMP letter.
Does the veteran have to pay for services in advance then reimbursed by the VA?
(a) If the disability is listed on the VA-FMP award letter, the veteran does not have to pay for medical services or medications. HealthAlliance, Panama, will provide the medical services and prescribed medications, then bill VA-FMP directly.
(b) Medical services for non-service connected disabilities, not listed on the VA-FMP letter, must be paid by the veteran. VA will not reimburse non-service connected expenses. If the veteran has TRICARE insurance, then a reimbursement claim can be submitted to TRICARE.
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, contact one of the VSOs in the area where you reside in Panama.
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 Regional 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.
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
Come and enjoy tropical Panama with the thousands of veterans and other expats who have made Panama their retirement home.