Putting a Healthcare rumor to rest

Last week Don Ray wrote on Chiriqui Chatter about a Cardiologist who told him that Hospital Regional would no longer accept expat patients in need, that they would need to go to Santo Tomas in Panama City.

Don wrote about it, perhaps prematurely and then contacted the US Embassy to obtain verification.

Read the original post here: http://www.chiriquichatter.net/blog/2015/05/12/s-o-l-in-paradise/

The response from the US Embassy was what I knew from a conversation with another Cardiologist who also works in Regional. This rumor was false.

The embassy response is also on Chiriqui Chatter, http://www.chiriquichatter.net/blog/2015/05/15/s-o-l-post-updated/

Bottom line yes you do need to pay for medical care at Regional but unlike a private hospital they will admit you, treat you and work a=out a payment plan with you.

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  • Easy for you to say to be " prepared financially". Not so easy for many of us who have not been so fortunate financially. Personally I am an artist. There is a reason for the axiom "starving artist". Guess I should have become a conniving banker or Wall Street criminal. Then I would not be concerned with health care. Although I'd need medication so I could sleep at night.
  • I'm wondering about the definition of "partner".  It used to mean a person you shared an investment with, or a guy out on the range (that might have been "pardnur").

    PC makes me dizzy.

  • I think we've beaten this subject to death. To summarize, I see expats in Boquete having essentially four options for healthcare:

    1) Have no insurance in Panama. Go to Hospital Regional for medical emergencies, but be aware that it may be difficult to receive timely attention. And you will be billed upon departure. Non-emergency surgery will be delayed, perhaps forever. Plan to return to the U.S. for any needed medical non-emergency services.

    2) Enroll in the Hospital Chiriqui co-pay plan. This will pay for many routine, preventive procedures, but it will pay only part of the cost of hospitalization and/or surgery, and there is a relatively low cap on how much it will pay annually. It pays for no bodily appliances such as stents and pacemakers. This can result in the patient owing a significant amount of money.

    3) Buy comprehensive national or international insurance. It is expensive. But it has a high payout limit and, after the chosen deductible, pays most or all medical expenses. There generally is no required deductible for emergency or pre-approved hospitalization or procedures.

    4) Self insure and hope that you have enough put aside to cover a catastrophic medical event such as heart surgery, serious automobile accident, etc.

    As routine medical care in Panama is relatively inexpensive, most expats can meet those expenses without incurring significant financial difficulty. When considering health insurance needs, it is my opinion that particular attention should be given to catastrophic medical events which, without good insurance, could subject one to no care, poor care, and/or financial ruin.

    • I would add to my post Don Ray's post, above. If one is relying on Hospital Regional for emergency health care, he or she should know that full payment in cash may be required upon release.(Both Hospital Chiriqui and Hospital Mae Lewis take credit cards.)  And, if one dies at Regional, full payment may be required of the family before the body is released.

      • It seems some people who have money find it hard the comprehend that many, if not most, people don't. I don't have a credit card. What happens if one has no family?
        • I'm in the process of contacting Bupa as they seem to have plans to fit our budget.  I'm not worried about leaving anything but about being disabled and not being able to care for myself or living a long pitiful death here on earth beholden to the health care system. Also concerned about affording any costly thing I might need while living here cus only GOD knows what's in store in the future. I do have the choice to take health care from my work which will drop my pension in half and I will be camping out of tent and dumpster diving. so that is not an option. Although there are some pets here that I could learn from. ja ja ja

          If one has no family, then you could always send your left over pension to ARF I guess, they can always use donations and or I guess donate your body to science if you pass away. 

          • What is Bupa?
            • http://www.bupasalud.com/en

              This is their website, but I am getting a 404 error when I click on the country.  Anybody else have a better link?  Or Google it.

              • try the chat.  The person i spoke with on chat said that they aren't take BUPA clients until sept 2015. they will have new plans and premiums for Panama then.  She gave me her email so I could contact her in sept.  If you want to I can send it to you.

                • Here is our contact for BUPA in Panama City...

                  Nelson Vega
                  Producer Assistant
                  +507 6379-5557
                  Skype: nelson.healthassist

                  Panama City, Panama
                  "International Health Insurance"

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