Applying for Health Insurance in Panama

Goals of Week Two in Boquete

I had three goals this week. I got two done! Not bad for a holiday week here.

  • Goal Number One- Contact movers and give them the green light to ship our belongings from Miami where they have been in storage. We needed to wait until we could prove we had an address in Panama. Without that and proof that our residency is in process, we would have had to pay duty on all the stuff we are  bringing in. When you consider electronics are taxed at sometimes 40% of value, you can see how this can add up fast. We also hummed and hawed around about whether to get a storage unit here in David to use or bring it all to the house. There are only 2 places that store for you here. The price is easily reasonable, about $70 a month, but we wanted our stuff to be able to open a few boxes and use things right away. We realize that our little house will be cramped when full of boxes. But we can always decide to use a storage facility later. Our plan is not to wait too long before we buy something, move in and unpack eveything. To that end, I emailed our dear shipper and told him to ship. He emailed back that he needs a letter from our  attorney stating we have started our residency application for our permanent Visa and color copies of our passports. All documents must be notarized in Panama. These are requirements from the Panama government for shipments. We are having our wonderful attorney take care of all the details. Cool part is-our shipper said we might have our belongings on November 19th. That is only 10 days from now.  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Goal Number Two- Get local health insurance. We are still paying for our health insurance in the states. Between the two of us we are paying out over $700 a month for health care we can’t use here. So we found Magda Crespo Insurance located in Boquete. They broker health insurance.  We visited there on Thursday in her office. We decided on a great plan which would cover us internationally also. The company is a Panama one. World Wide Medical.

As coverage changes and rates, please know that the rates we pay now will be higher as we get older. But it covers:

100% for any emergency in hospitals including surgery without paying a deductible.

Otherwise we have a $5000 deductible for incidental office visits, prescriptions, basically anything not requiring hospital care. And it covers us in the US for a period of 3 months. If we were to need to be out of Panama for over 6 months though the plan would automatically expire.

Looks good eh? Guess what this costs.I will pay $139.61. So I have a better plan than the ones I was paying over 2 and a half times for in the states. Ya gotta love Panama. Oh and the best is yet to come.

All the major hospitals are on the participating  list as well as all the best doctors here in Panama.

Procedure for Applying for Health Insurance

Okay, remember we saw our health insurance person, Magda on Thursday. At that appointment she filled out applications for each of us. It took about an hour. She then told us to meet her in David, where she would take us to have lab work done for the application the next day as well as see a doctor.

So Friday morning we got up at 5, fasting since the night before we ate no breakfast, but headed down our road on foot to the bus stop. This was to be our first local bus ride. We waited until seven am when the bus came by and picked us up. The bus was loaded with people.  Being the local bus, it comes every 25 minutes and goes into David. It took us about 45 minutes to get to David, with several stops along the way to pick up or drop off passengers. Everyone was kind and polite on the bus. Magda picked us up at the bus stop and whisked us away to the Chiriqui Mall, where the health lab was.

The place opens at 6:30 in the morning we got there just after eight. The place was spotlessly clean and the staff were dressed very professionally. We filled out the necessary forms and within a few minutes I  got  blood drawn.  The cost for the blood tests and lab results came to $70.00.  Magda said she would pick up the blood test results the next day , along with the doctors report that would be sent in with the application for insurance.

Magda had also set up an appointment to visit a doctor at nine thirty. Not knowing what to expect, we went to one of the private hospitals, Hospital Mae Lewis. Here is there website:Hospital Mae Lewis. Magda ushered us into the hospital and down a corridor to a receptionist who sat outside a doctors office. We were told to wait. Magda left us there as she had other work to do in town. We waited for about half an hour. The receptionist called us both in to an office that was very clean and we met Dr. Samuel Luis Cattan Alvarez, who come to find out is the director of the hospital. He was wonderful and spoke English. He asked us each a few questions, took our blood pressure, height, weight (ugh), listened to our hearts and breathing and within thirty minutes we were done. The paperwork he filled out for the insurance application, he said, Magda would pick up. The cost for this was $40.00. The nice receptionist called a taxi for us and we were done with all the medical stuff by 11am.

  • Goal three- I am saving for next week. Setting up an Airbox Express account, so we can get mail. Let you know how that goes.




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