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Health Plan For 65+

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7/2/2017 22:22 EST

I am looking to retire to Latin America within the next several months. One of my big concerns is health care/medical insurance. I will be 67 in September and I notice that some national health plans will not accept anyone over the age of 65. I do plan on keeping my Medicare A and B as well as my Medicare Advantage program, which is based in Houston. It would be relatively easy to fly back to Houston for any kind of major procedure, even if I had to buy a Med Evac plan. My concern is for routine care (out of pocket?) and important but not critical procedures, or for a situation in which my condition was not stable enough for air evacuation. So my question is this: Is there a good national plan for someone my age in Panamá? Are there hospital-based plans that accept us older retirees? (For example, I have heard of one such excellent plan in Managua, Nicaragua.) I am aware that companies like Cigna offer international insurance but their quotes are pretty much out of my budget.
Thanks very much for any and all input!

7/3/2017 10:56 EST

Doctor visit in general are not that expensive in the city. For example If you go to Punta Pacifica a dermatologist will charge around $65 and that is more or less the cost of all others. Dentist are not expensive either for a regular cleaning. Lab tests are very cheap and some offer excellent prices if you go Sundays.

What is expensive is a hospital stay if you have an emergency. You will not be able to leave the hospital unless you cancel the total bill. I think if you have a residency you might be able to get a health insurance for over 65 but with exceptions. For example they will not cover you for pre existing conditions. You will have to search high and low for a good insurance and remember there is "juega vivo" in this country not everyone will tell you the truth and they will laugh all the way to the bank with your money. Due diligence and baby steps are necessary.

Hope this helps.

InmoPanama Real Estate

The No. 1 real estate portal and agency in Panama, InmoPanama provides access to thousands of properties for sale and rent throughout Panama including popular expat destinations like Panama City, Boquete, Bocas del Toro and Coronado.

7/3/2017 12:44 EST

Because the cost of living is cheaper in Chiriqui Province, you will find that specialists may charge $40 where in Panama City it may be $65. Dental cleanings here are $30 and up, depending on the dentist. Compared to the last North American cleaning I had for $200, it is a pretty good deal. My daughter had a dental procedure in North America for $1200. Here in David it cost me $90.....same thing. I paid $1400 or so for a dental implant. I could have found it cheaper but I like my dentist. Friends in North America paid $7000 for the same thing. Pay as you go is my plan. We do have a co-pay medical insurance plan in David however. $120 per year per person. Have used it once for a procedure that would have cost a few hundred dollars, so it has paid for itself already...........Medical is relatively cheap here, except for Cancer and heart operations. A gringo in the next hospital bed to me, just paid $30,000 in David for stents for his heart 6 months ago, and was in again for replacement stents, another $30,000. Insurance can be a good thing in some cases...............

7/3/2017 14:31 EST

What is your opinion of Worldwide Medical Insurance and BCBS of Panama's Medried Elite local-w/60 days coverage in US, and their Deluxe, and Ultimate International plans?

7/3/2017 14:40 EST

If you haven't already, check out World WIde Medical :
800 647-4589, ext. 217
Direct Line: 317- 399-7167
866 793-4779 (fax)

and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Panama: 011-507-206-4000
The lowest cost plan Medired Elite covers you in Panama and gives you 60 days coverage in the US.

I am still waiting on the email for the Deluxe and Ultimate Plans.

Good Luck.

7/3/2017 15:00 EST

Hello and welcome. It sounds like you're taking a prudent approach to your health care in retirement. It is a good idea to keep coverage in your home country. As for coverage in Panama, best to speak with a broker to investigate plans. After age 70 or 71 (depending on the insurer), it will be difficult to obtain coverage as a new client. Also, there will be a wait period of 2 years for coverage of pre-existing conditions, assuming the conditions are not multiple/severe. Anyone with serious, chronic medical issues should come with their eyes wide open.
If by "national plans" you mean universal health care coverage like Canada, this doesn't exist. There are public clinics and hospitals that offer low cost care, but waits are long, staffing is sketchy, equipment is missing or broken, infection rates are high, etc. Your choice.
What many do is self-insure in Panama, while keeping coverage in their home country. Everyday, basic medical care in Panama is affordable: in the city $20 for a visit to a GP, and $60 to a specialist with pensioner discounts. Coming from Canada, I find diagnostic tests are quite expensive, (up to 10X more), and medications cost more. Hospitalization is cheaper than in North America, but can set you back tens of thousands of $ in a private hospital. Public hospitals are to be avoided.
Lack of advanced medical care is one of the reasons North Americans and Europeans leave Panama as they get older and become more frail.
Good luck!

InmoPanama Real Estate

The No. 1 real estate portal and agency in Panama, InmoPanama provides access to thousands of properties for sale and rent throughout Panama including popular expat destinations like Panama City, Boquete, Bocas del Toro and Coronado.

7/3/2017 17:40 EST

Those plans look competive. I'll keep them in mind. Thank you.

7/3/2017 18:02 EST

Re. the. dental. costs - what. is. average cost. for. full set of dentures. and dentures with 2 or 4. implants for bottom plate. . in Panama. ? Beach area - City. Penonomme etc. . Quality - Precision ? Thanks !

7/3/2017 18:17 EST

@ ISand2017 - If you can Clarify the 60 days coverage in the USA with BCBS of Panama, I just left a Broker this afternoon - I will leave her name out at this point, but she told me the Coverage is Panama , Apparently Central America & Colombia, And NO COVERAGE Not even One day in USA . Are you sure ??? - Regards Serge

7/3/2017 21:59 EST

Yes, call BCBS of Panama ask to speak with an English speaker ph# 011-507-206-4000. You are covered up to 60 days while visiting the US. They have 3 plans: The Medired Elite, The Deluxe, and The Ultimate International. Call them and get the correct info from - straight from them! They will email you the info if you request it. Google the link:

Read the last page on the pdf:
Panama, Central America and Colombia: Applies for all covered medical expenses incurred in Panama, Central America and Colombia, whether for emergency or elective and programmed cases.
o Other Countries: Applies for all covered medical expenses incurred in any country, with the exception of Panama, Central America and Colombia, as detailed in this table.
? The deductible in Panama, Central America and Colombia does not accumulate with deductible of other countries.

Good luck!
I am still researching.

7/10/2017 16:25 EST

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