What most expats here in Belize do is use international plans like BUPA. In Belize, healthcare at the primary and secondary level is actually fairly good. They have government hospitals, but they also have private hospitals. For your standard, run of the mill bumps and bruises, scratches, broken bones, and other things like that, no problem.
The family of my business partner, who is Belizean, has been here since the 1800s so he’s really entrenched. He had a hard time when he needed gall bladder surgery, as he was trying to decide what to do. Does he stay in Belize or does he go to Merida, Mexico or does he go to Guatemala or does he go to the States? He has just read about a senator from Maryland who went to the Bethesda Hospital, which is where a lot of well-known people go, so he figured it must be the greatest thing from downside looking in. So Belizeans think that that’s probably one of the best places to go. Well, that senator had gall bladder surgery just like my business partner needed, and he had it in Bethesda Hospital, and, two days later, he died. Understandably, my friend was concerned and said, “What do I do?” He finally decided to just stay in Belize and go to the private hospital and have it done. It’s three days later now, and he’s able to sit up. I’m not saying that he’s ready to do the tango, but he’s up and around and he’s just fine. Things like that can be handled in Belize as well.
When you get to the tertiary level where you need oncologists and experts in a specialized field, a lot of people do go elsewhere. I just compare it to being in the States. If you need the best care for cancer, you would go to MD Anderson in Houston, but not everybody lives in Houston; you have to travel to get there. Belize is just a 2-hour flight, which is closer than a lot of the specialized care in the United States. For some people there is that sort of comfort level knowing that we are not that far away from the US.
(MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, pictured.)