Learn about the Panama Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats
Panama is a popular expat destination. Due to the high volume of expats, Panama’s healthcare system is reaching international standards. To improve the health infrastructure and uplift the quality of services, the government is investing heavily in the medical sector. As an expat or digital nomad in Panama, you may need to have access to adequate healthcare services owing to the tropical climate of the country. Here’s what you need to know about the Panama healthcare system and medical insurance options for expats.
The public hospitals and private clinics of Panama have adequate doctors, qualified medical staff, and specialists. Even then, you can buy international health insurance from a leading global insurance company to secure your health while staying in the country.
More health information about Panama is available at CDC.
Overview of Healthcare in Panama
What features as a highlight point of the Panamanian healthcare sector, is the quality of its well-trained bilingual doctors and medical professionals. The quality of healthcare in Panama hospitals equals the quality of hospitals in Canada, the U.S., and Europe. The best part about the medical professional and nurses in Panama is that expats find them compassionate. Additionally, even general physicians provide exceptional care.
How the Panama Healthcare System Works for Expats
The government of Panama continues to work towards enhancing the quality of healthcare. It has worked hard to implement the universal health care system for permanent residents as well as citizens. Since it mainly provides basic coverage, opting for private health insurance may be the best option. Expats, digital nomads, and global citizens should invest in a private health insurance plan before arriving in Panama. Else, they will have to pay from their pockets for all the services rendered. For expats, international private health insurance serves as the best option, and it must include emergency evacuation coverage.
Public Healthcare in Panama
The public hospitals in Panama are funded by the Social Security System and the Ministry of Health. Services in these hospitals are almost free. However, those who can afford private healthcare may choose to do so. Many expats do not opt for healthcare at public hospitals because of the long waiting periods. They may not even get the dedicated care that they can expect at a private facility. As an expat, if you want to go for public healthcare in Panama, you must check out the public hospitals well in advance.
Private Healthcare in Panama
Most expats seek treatments at the country’s state-of-the-art private hospitals. Also, the hospitals are equipped with video conferencing facilities to encourage learning and sharing of information across hospitals. Owing to the small size of the country, having access to a modern private hospital is quite easy.
Emergency medical services in Panama
In the event of a medical emergency, dial 911 for ambulance service. In case the ambulance does not arrive on time, take a taxi and reach the nearest hospital. Small towns have clinics, and cities have hospitals where you can receive immediate, basic medical care. Citizens, permanent residents, and expats, regardless of income, can access free healthcare as a part of emergency medical treatment.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Pharmacies in Panama allow the purchase of prescription and non-prescription drugs. Moreover, medications that may require a prescription in other countries are generally available over the counter in Panama. If you know the name of the drug you are seeking, you can directly ask for it at the pharmacy and get it without a prescription.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Panama
International companies offer expats, global citizens, and digital nomads private health insurance plans at competitive costs. Private healthcare is an add-on to public healthcare in Panama. Ideally, it should be complemented by an international health insurance cover that provides medical airlifting and overseas evacuation during an emergency. Select the most popular international insurance plans offered by Cigna Global and Allianz International. The healthcare institutions across Panama mostly recognize them.