You Can Use Medicare in Panama

Medicare is affordable health insurance for US citizens. You must be 65 to sign up. There are no age restrictions and no pre-existing condition restrictions.

I have always read that you cannot use Medicare in Panama. But, I recently discovered that you CAN use Medicare in Panama! You’ll need a “special Medicare Advantage account” that can be used for urgent care or emergencies in Panama. Best of all, there is a $0 additional cost for this special account! Besides Medicare Part A, you’ll need to pay for Medicare Part B, which is currently about $170 per month. For most retirees, their Medicare premium is taken directly out of their Social Security payment.

This news is especially good for United States citizens who have pre-existing conditions because they may not be able to get Panama insurance or get international health insurance. Currently, most Panama insurance companies will not write a new policy for many preexisting conditions or they will exclude them.

In Panama, when you use Medicare, you’ll need to pay the doctor or hospital up front, then file a claim to be reimbursed. Of course, Medicare can also be used in the United States, and it can be used for prescription medications to be mailed to Panama using a mail forwarding company. You can get your medications from Amazon Pharmacy or any other pharmacy that will mail prescriptions.

Because basic medical care is so affordable in Panama, you can just pay for a routine doctor visit or lab work.

But if you have a medical emergency or need urgent care in Panama, you can file a claim with Medicare to be reimbursed.

It may not be necessary to get other insurance in Panama if you have the right Medicare Advantage Plan.

This is how it works: a Panama Relocation Tour alumnus recently wrote that his wife broke her ankle shortly after moving to Panama and needed emergency surgery. They had to pay the hospital, then they filed a claim and were reimbursed by Medicare in less than three months. See this video interview with an expat Medicate Advantage expert for more details.

YouTube video

Being able to use Medicare in Panama is a GAME-CHANGER for many would-be expats!

It costs $0 to switch to the right Medicare Advantage Plan. For most plans, the only fee you’ll pay is what you are already paying for Medicare Part B. There is no additional charge for the special Medicare Advantage Plan.

Most insurance agents, even Medicare specialists, do not know that you can use Medicare in Panama or how to find the right Medicare Advantage plan. Of course, Panama insurance agents cannot help you with Medicare. We recommend two Medicare Advantage experts in the Complete Panama Relocation Guide. They specialize in working with expats to get the right Medicare Advantage plan so you are covered for medical emergencies and urgent care in Panama.

In our Complete Panama Relocation Guide, we have more information and a one-hour video about how you can use Medicare in Panama. You must be careful to pick the right kind of “special account” so you’ll be covered in Panama. We have expert help and guidance in the Complete Panama Relocation Guide.

If you’re not a US citizen or not yet 65, the Complete Panama Relocation Guide also has other very affordable health insurance information for you too! If you’re 60-69, your insurance will cost about $102 monthly.

You really can live better for less in Panama!

Of course, the Complete Panama Relocation Guide also contains all the information you need to know to have a smooth, hassle-free move to Panama.

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. Debe Emerson says

    As Panama Relocation Tour alumni, how do we access the information about setting up a special Medicare account for using Medicare in Panama ??

    • Jackie Lange says

      Debe, I will send you an email with the information

      • Stephan says

        How do we access the information about setting up a special Medicare account for using Medicare in Panama?? This information should be made public Jackie Lange. Health and financial welfare should not have a price tag in front it. It needs to be shared publicly with the expat community.

    • Mark Koontz says

      I’m 65 and have no pre-existing conditions (although I didn’t take the “jab”) so I’m trying to compare Panama insurance vs Medicare Advantage. To correct your article, Part B premium is currently $170.44 per month. So would the Panama insurance be cheaper?

      BTW- Since costs are so cheap in Panama, I’m only looking for catastrophic coverage. I was thinking about a heart attack of kidney replacement (kind of thing). Cancer maybe (for comparison)…. But a previous article of your listed a friend who had a heat attack who had an ending bill of $1000??? So I’m wondering what a REAL emergency (cost-wise) might be.

      • Jackie Lange says

        The cost of emergency care depends on if you go to a public hospital or a private hospital.

  2. leiloni gay says

    hello ms jackie i am living in panama how can i get my medicare in panama. Ineed your help. Thank you

      • Janis says

        How do you assess the video? I see you have to purchase the guide. Thank you

        • Jackie Lange says

          Medicare can be used in Panama for urgent care and emergencies if you have the right Medicare Advantage Plan. Contact Jeff Goble at 1-916-601-7128 or
          [email protected] for details about the right Medicare Advantage plan. There is NO CHARGE for his services or switching to the right advantage plan.

  3. Earnest William Jones says

    My wife and I are American citizens who are living in Panama for the past 14 years age 80. We have medicare part A and part B , but was told we could not use medicare here in Panama. We had to go to Miami so we could use it for our eye operations because we were not covered here. I need the information to acquire the the special account to get the medicare for use here in Panama.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Earnest. I will send you the contact of the expat Medicare specialist to help you get the right Medicare Advantage plan. It costs $0 to use their services or to get the right Medicare plan.

  4. Roland Drayton says

    When I went back to live in Panama I got sick and went to San Fernando Hospital. I presented my Visa card and was admitted. The hospital later helped me file the claim and I was reimbursed. Is this a different was to use Medicare?

    • Jackie Lange says

      did they help you file a claim with Medicare? That’s great!

  5. Nathifa Mawiyah says

    How does one apply to be able to use Medicare here in Panama?

    • Jackie Lange says

      Medicare can only be used for urgent care or emergencies in Panama. You need the right Medicare Advantage plan to have coverage in Panama.

  6. Debora S Grayman Arocho says

    Moving to Panama on the 12 of May. Need information about using Medicare A and B

    • Jackie Lange says

      You will need the right Medicare Advantage Plan, then it can be used for urgent care and emergencies in Panama.

  7. Charles Cook says

    What if you are algo a trycare Member

  8. Charles Cook says

    This is a good thing for the People traveling from the USA

  9. Cecilia Wallace says

    I am Civil service Retired have Medicare A&B plus Blue Cross Blue Shield , this can only be used in cases of emergencies?

    • Jackie Lange says

      If your Blue Cross Blue Shield is the right Medicare Advantage Plan, it can be used for urgent care and emergencies in Panama.

    • VIctoria Sizemore says

      Tricare is very limited in Panama, it is only accepted at Hospital Brisas. You cannot use MEDICARE in Panama. That rumour has been around for years and is not true. The ONLY time MEDICARE is accepted is if you are retired as a US Federal Employee, have US FEDERAL Blue Cross Blue Shield and use it at Hospital Nacional. NONE of the private hospitals will accept MEDICARE ADVANTAGE for you day to day medical needs. Before you spend a dime, please email the US Embassy to confirm your MEDICARE benefits in Panama at: [email protected] or call one of the Private Hospitals to determine if they will take it: Paitilla, Punta Pacifica, Panama CLinic, San Fernando or Hospital National.

      • Jackie Lange says

        Victoria, you are mistaken. Tricare is also accepted at Hospital Chiriqui and Hospital Mae Lewis in David. Hospital Nacional and Hospital Brisas in Panama City also accept TriCare. Medicare covers medical emergencies for the first 90 days you are you tof the US. You have to pay the hospital up front then file a claim to be reimbursed. A client fell and broke her hip. She had to have emergency surgery in Panama. She sent all the receipt to Medicare and they reimbursed her within 90 days. Another client broke her ankle 6 month after moving to Panama. Medicare reimbursed her 100% of her hospital expenses. For those living in Panama full time, you need Medicare Advantage. It does not have a time limit like Medicare or Medigap does. Medicare Advantage only covers medical emergencies. It does not cover routine doctor visits

  10. Mary Flynn says

    I have Medicare part A and part B and C. Please explain to me what do I have to do so I can use my Medicare in Panama. I have no health insurance in Panama I am 61. My husband retires around October we are retiring in Panama. I am in Panama at this moment looking to see if is good for us please I need your advise.

    • Jackie Lange says

      Hello Mary. Medicare can be used in Panama for urgent care and emergencies if you have the right Medicare Advantage Plan. Contact Jeff Goble at 1-916-601-7128 or
      [email protected]

  11. Ricardo V Staple says

    Afternoon Ms. Lange,

    Thanks for sharing this information that it is critical to us, more so for those foreseen thing from a proactive approach, health care services.

    This information helps also and the financial side not having to pay for two separate insurance coverage.

    Much love to you and love ones, thanks.

  12. Jose Graham says

    I relocated to Panama from San Antonio TX in 2015. I had a Tricare account which during the time of movement, I was for whatever reason cancelled and someone had indicated that I had decline. I called Tricare to reinstate myself but was advice that due to my age(70), I must know get Medicare part B. I have not being succesfull, in doing so after so many calls. I wonder if you have means for me to re-enrolled. I am a retired Army veteran who served 23yrs of service. Thank you.

    • Jackie Lange says

      HI Jose It is required to have Medicare Part B to have Tricare. Contact a VSO (Veteran Service Officer) for help getting reinstated. See this list of VSO in Panama

  13. Marjorie Eldridge says

    I’m a USA citizen and I’m 71 years old. I spend the winter months in Barbados, can I use my Medicare here? Please send me any information you may have for Barbados.
    Thank you, Marjorie

  14. Felicia Arosemena says

    Want to know everything about medicare account to be used in panamá

  15. Julio R Hunt says

    I’ll like to know how I can use my Medicare in Panamá because I was told my Medicare card was not good.

  16. Ira Abrego says

    Hello Jackie,

    Hope you can help us out. My brother is Panamanian and living here in Arraijan. He is a naturalizedAmerican Citizen but we are not sure if he can use or have Medicare Part A or B even thou he receives his Social Security Check. I believe he doest not have a current plan as he is not sure about it and i dont see him having his AARP Medicare Advantage United Healthcare card like i do. (Im on vacation here in Panama as i live in Dallas)
    Can you please guide us? By the way, calling that number of Jeff Goble conect you with a person telling you to call 199. Not too much help there. Thank you.

  17. Perla Beckford says

    How do I go about seing someone to guide me in this process.
    Of doing the forms etc. Not to good at this.

  18. Scott Nichols says

    I lived and worked in Panama for several years. In that time I was hospitalized twice. I never saw a bill.

    • Jackie Lange says

      The public hospital used to have no charge for most things. Now there is a minimal fee for services.

  19. Elena Aguel says

    Do I have to change my regular Medicare to an “HMO” Medicare Advantage plan? So if I ever go to the U.S. I can only be treated by physicians and in hospitals which are listed on the Medicare Advantage roster?
    Also, will I be reimbursed only the 80% of the amount approved by Medicare? I don’t think Hospitals here in Panama will ride off the difference from the actual bill and the Medicare approved amount like they do in the U.S.
    And what about some procedures that are needed but are not considered “emergency care” ex: colonoscopies, cancer treatment etc.

    • Jackie Lange says

      If you have the right Medicare Advantage plan, it covers 100% of the cost of urgent care or emergencies in Panama. It does not cover any other medical needs or medications in Panama.

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