When I moved to Panama, I figured to take care
When I moved to Panama, I figured to take care of my medical needs using local resources (I live in Coronado, but Panama City is only an hour away), because they are good and very economical. For instance, a doctor's routine visit for a checkup or specific problem, such as diagnosing a cold, is less than ten dollars if you use your Julibilado Visa. For more serious problems, like a knee replacement, I planned to fly to the US to use my Medicare.
The problem is with a medical issue that is an emergency, such as a heart attack - flying is not an option then. Last year I had an accident swimming, and wound up in Panama City at the National Hospital. Two days in the ICU, plus two more in a regular room, plus all the other stuff, cost me $7,500. Without any insurance to cover that, they want cash before you leave the facility - or a credit card. Fortunately they took American Express. The wife of a Canadian friend of mine had to have emergency heart surgery, and his bill was in the tens of thousands.
Before moving to a foreign country, make plans to deal with all of your potential health needs.
(The native Kuna people of Panama are distinctive because they have relatively low incident of high blood pressure, pictured.)