11 Expats Talk about Health Insurance and Healthcare in Guatemala
Last updated on Jan 08, 2023
Summary: Expats and global nomads in Guatemala share their experiences with health insurance, healthcare in Guatemala, local hospitals and specialists, quality of medical care and more.
How are healthcare services Guatemala?
When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in Guatemala, they replied:
"Most expats in Lake Atitlan probably you will be using private medical services. Always make sure to have a clear view of the cost prior engaging in any intervention unless it is an emergency. If you have an insurance check what is taking care or not..," added another expat.
"Make sure to look for the best doctors, get a private Guatemalan insurance to take you the best hospitals.. forget about public hospital unless it is for emergency," commented one expat who moved to Guatemala City.
"45 minutes into Guatemala City provides you with world class healthcare at a fraction of the price," said one expat living in Antigua.
"For myself I bring enough of my meds from Canada to hold me over. Any other first aid or illness I have been able to get what is needed, either for me or my neighbours kids who may need meds or see a Doctor. As most Pharmacies are owned by Doctors ,it is convenient and easy to receive treatment," mentioned another expat in Panajachel.
Are healthcare and health insurance expensive in Guatemala?
"My health insurance take care of 2/3 of the bill but still the cost is very low in total and cheap," said an expat in Lake Atitlan.
What are emergency services like in Guatemala?
When we asked about emergency services, members in Guatemala wrote:
"Hospitals are 1/2 hour away but the best ones are 2 1/2 hours drive away or 20 minutes helicopter flight. All private hospital. Excellent staff and installation," commented one expat living in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
"My closest hospital is 20 minutes drive but it is a public one and wouldn't go there unless to get stabilize before heading to Guatemala City a 2 1/2 drive.. to a private hospital .. Excellent care," added another expat.
Will I need to travel to see a specialist?
Are common prescription medications available in Guatemala?
"Every thing is available unless you have high tech drugs.. Most of the medicines are delivered without prescription," said an expat in Lake Atitlan.
"Most of every thing available. Lots of things you need prescription in the first world you can get them here over the counter. But medicines are expensive here," commented one expat living in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
"Healthcare can be a challenge. There are some well trained doctors in the larger villages but their range of care is limited. There is a good private hospital in Santiago (Hospitalito Atitlan) but depending on what kinds of volunteer doctors are there during your emergency they may not be able to help. The public hospital in Solola I call the pre-morgue. It is a grim place I wouldn’t send an enemy. Best care is Guatemala City. A three hour, $100US, ambulance ride away or an expensive helicopter airlift," commented one expat who moved to Lake Atitlan.
What have your experiences during the pandemic with the local healthcare system been like?
We asked members about local medical facilities in Guatemala, they wrote...
"Out of the 2 times that I have gotten sick a couple years ago the doctors were great," said another expat.
"I have had the normal ailments. Colds and diarrhea . I have been stung twice by scorpions and was able to get the proper meds for that.. I have a relationship with Dr. Huricane, to allow my neighbours access to meds when I am not there .He Emails me the situation and I give the OK . I pay him when I get back. Dr. Luis Pena runs a clinic for free also. Expats are asked to give donations to the clinic when they receive a service," remarked another expat in Panajachel.
What advice do you have for expats having a baby in Guatemala?
We asked expat moms who gave birth in Guatemala about their experiences and advice they have for other moms to be. They said:
"Have a plan B in case you went your baby delivered at home.. If you choose a doctor be sure he won't put you on a schedule and make the baby come when he wants as they have the tendency to do it.," added another person living in Panajachel.
Are healthcare services good in Guatemala?
We asked people if they have access to good medical care in Guatemala. They wrote:
"Health care is for the most part affordable in Guatemala. I have had major surgery here and it was very good and far below the cost of a co-pay in the US. But one must shop around and ask other people for recommendations. Some places exploit older patients and do unnecessary treatments. But there are lots of really good doctors here. One suggestion: look for a doctor who actually listens to you and respects your opinions. The younger ones often have a US attitude that is not helpful," said another person in Guatemala.
About the Author
Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.
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