If you plan to retire abroad and want to access a high quality healthcare you can afford, then Panama may be the perfect place for you. Modern hospitals and clinics are available throughout the country. And considering the country’s size, you’re more likely just an hour away from a modern facility, regardless of where you choose to live. Many doctors also speak fluent English as many of them study and work in English speaking countries just after finishing their initial training in Panama.
Panama’s Hubs and Major Facilities
Panama City is well-known all over Latin America due to its great clinics and major hospitals. Panama City is very accessible anywhere within the country, whether you’re flying for an hour from the islands of Bocas del Toro or driving two hours from the sleepy mountain town of El Valle.
The densely inhabited, cosmopolitan capital hosts a lot of good facilities, with four major private hospitals being one of the best in the region. These medical centers include Centro Medico Paitilla, Hospital Nacional, Clinica Hospital San Fernando, and the Johns Hopkins International-affiliated Hospital Punta Pacífica. Hospital Punta Paciíica is a state-of-the-art medical center of Latin America known to be the only one with U.S. affiliations.
International certifications and accreditation given by the likes of Joint Commission International (JCI) also help to elevate Panama’s standards in global health care. San Fernando Hospital Clinic is the first private hospital in Panama to receive a JCI gold-star rating. The San Fernando Hospital Clinic, founded in 1949, has recently opened its small but well-equipped satellite facility in the beach hub of Coronado, only an hour away from the capital.
Some other hub towns with hospitals and clinics include Chitré, Santiago, David, and Las Tablas. Popular expats towns such as Boquete and Pedasí have smaller clinics, and are near to bigger facilities in David and Chitré, respectively.
Doctors and facilities found on these clinics and hospitals are on par with the facilities you’ll find in the U.S. or Canada. In fact, many expats in Panama claimed that they received more personalized care in Panama compared to what they received back home. This holds true for dentistry in Panama as well— attracting numerous medical tourists to Panama.
Of course you can also find a lot of pharmacies in Panama, with the Arrocha and Metro chains being the most well-known stores. Pharmacies are also available in hospitals and supermarkets. The El Rey chain is available in many of its supermarkets, offering 24-hour-service – which means you can interact to pharmacist any time of the day. Prescription drug prices are also low because manufacturers price them directly for the market. Additionally, some drugs which require a prescription in other places are offered over the counter in Panama.
Lastly, health insurance options are available to expats in Panama and they are much less expensive compared to the U.S. This is because the doctor’s fees and hospital visits are significantly cheaper. A part of this is also because the starting salaries are still low, despite the rapid numbers of middle class (presently more than 40% of the population, increasing from only 28% in 2002).
In Panama City, minimum salaries are about $675, and in countryside around $525 per month. In comparison to a good salary for a university graduate, which is anywhere between $1,200 and $2,000 per month. This helps keep the healthcare system in Panama both private and public substantially lower. Also, malpractice insurance is very low given that Panamanian law doesn’t allow frivolous lawsuits. For information about health insurance we recommend Magda Crespo Insurance.
I will use myself as an example. In my town of Boquete, a doctor’s visit is $12, blood tests, $12, and an x-ray is $18. I am 54 years old and have a plan with full 100% coverage with a $1000 deductible in Panama, for $108/month.
When you come with us on one of our Retire in Panama Tours, you will get some one on one time with health care practitioners and health insurance agents to educate you on health care in Panama.
Retire in Panama Tours
It’s more than a tour . . it’s an experience.