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Essential Guide to the Health System in Panama City

Dive into healthcare resources for expats and digital nomads in Panama City: identify leading healthcare providers, hospitals, and medical centers for optimal care.
Essential Guide to the Health System in Panama City

Panama City has both public and private healthcare systems. The public healthcare system is called the Caja de Seguro Social (CSS). It is used by both locals and foreigners, including expats and digital nomads. People generally recommend using public hospitals in Panama City for serious medical emergencies and major surgery. Public hospitals in Panama City are generally crowded and understaffed, but they are free or low cost and provide quality care. Expats and digital nomads are allowed to use the public healthcare system in Panama, but many prefer to use private hospitals. Private hospitals in Panama City are more expensive, but they are well-equipped and provide excellent care. People recommend using private hospitals for serious medical emergencies and major surgery.

Hospitals and Clinics for Expats in Panama City

There are several recommended clinics and hospitals in Panama City for expats. Clinica Hospital San Fernando is a private hospital located in the heart of Panama City. It specializes in cardiology, oncology, and neurology. Clinica Hospital Punta Pacifica is a private hospital located in the Punta Pacifica neighborhood. It is affiliated with Johns Hopkins Medicine and specializes in advanced medical treatments. Hospital Nacional is a public hospital located in the San Miguelito district. It is the largest public hospital in Panama City and provides quality care. Hospital Santo Tomas is a public hospital located in the El Chorrillo district. It specializes in trauma and emergency care.

Emergency Services in Panama City

Panama City has ambulance services that can be called for emergencies. The number to call is 911. Ambulances usually arrive quickly, but there can be delays depending on the time of day and the location.

Health Insurance Companies in Panama City

The most popular private health insurers in Panama City are ASSA, Mapfre, and Blue Cross. Expats and digital nomads typically use these companies or specialized expat health insurance providers.

Insider Tips from Expats in Panama City: Health Care

“I’ve been living in Panama City for a few years now, and I can tell you that it’s definitely possible to live comfortably on $5,000 a month, even if you’re used to modern amenities. However, there might be some sacrifices you’ll have to make to ensure you stay within your budget.Firstly, you’ll want to choose an affordable neighborhood to live in. Some of the more expensive areas, like Punta Pacifica and Costa del Este, might be out of your budget if you’re trying to stick to $5,000 a month. Instead, consider neighborhoods like San Francisco, Obarrio, or El Cangrejo. These areas are still centrally located and offer a good mix of modern amenities, but the cost of living is more reasonable.When it comes to housing, you might have to settle for a smaller apartment or a slightly older building to keep your rent within budget. However, you can still find nice places with modern amenities like a pool, gym, and 24-hour security. Just be prepared to spend some time searching for the right place and be willing to compromise on certain features.As for transportation, owning a car in Panama City can be expensive due to high import taxes and insurance costs. To save money, consider using public transportation like the Metro or buses, which are quite affordable and reliable. Alternatively, you could also use ride-sharing apps like Uber, which are popular and reasonably priced in the city.Eating out can also add up quickly, especially if you’re used to dining at high-end restaurants. To save money, try exploring local Panamanian cuisine at more affordable eateries or cooking at home more often. Groceries can be relatively inexpensive, especially if you shop at local markets and buy seasonal produce.Finally, while there are plenty of entertainment options in Panama City, some can be quite pricey. To stay within your budget, look for free or low-cost activities like visiting parks, attending local festivals, or exploring the city’s many museums and cultural sites.Overall, living comfortably on $5,000 a month in Panama City is definitely achievable, but it will require some adjustments and compromises. By choosing an affordable neighborhood, being smart about transportation, and being mindful of your spending on food and entertainment, you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while staying within your budget,” commented an expat living in Panama City.

Joshua WoodJoshua 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.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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