Health insurance in Panama. What you need To know about it.
Priscilla McLeod Sosa is someone you need to talk to about health & other insurance in Panama. She was highly recommended by an extremely satisfied client who had interviewed several insurance brokers and found many to be wanting. After spending some time with her myself, I asked her to join the Your Panama team.
She has a considerable roster of ex-pat clients and speaks excellent English. And, of course, if I did’t think she was excellent she would not be on the team! - Sydney Tremayne
Health insurance in Panama is essential, unless you are a gambler. But what’s available? What’s it cost? What, if any, are the restrictions? And What’s medical care like in Panama? All questions for which people considering a move to Panama need answers. Let me deal with the last question first, and then I’ll get to the others.Panama is a modern country and has excellent doctors in all the different
Specialties. The quality of the hospital care is not only excellent; it is drastically less expensive than it is in the U. S. This has a positive impact on the cost of the health insurance in Panama.
First class private hospitals
There are both public and private hospitals in Panama. Most ex-pats attend the first class private hospitals which, in Panama City alone, include:
- John Hopkins Hospitals (Punta Pacífica)
- Clinica Hospital San Fernando (operating since 1948)
- Hospital Paitilla
- Hospital Nacional
- Hospital Santa Fe
Most doctors are bilingual, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised with doctors and hospitals here.
Health insurance in Panama has been an important insustry for about 100 years. The first company here was Pan American Life Insurance Company (Palic) & afterwards, Cía. Internacional de Seguros, S. A.
Perhaps a more familiar name to ex-pats, Mutual of Omaha has been well established here for many years. They provided health insurance in Panama for Canal employees for a long time, but now its portfolio of clients was acquired by Aseguradora Mundial de Panama ( today, SEGUROS MAPFRE ).
Gradually, more companies- both Panamanian and International-started to provide health insurance in Panama. They include:
- Alico (part of the AIG group, which offers only group coverage which has been acquired by PALIC recently)
- BUPA (who has recently initiated operations in Panama)
- World Wide Medical Assurance Corp.
Among leading Panamanian companies:
- Compañia Internacional de Seguros, S. A.
- SEGUROS MAPFRE
- Aseguradora Ancon
- SEGUROS VIVIR
Health insurance in Panama: Four flavors
Health insurance in Panama is basically divided into four major types:
Local HMO’s (coverage only for Panama)
International HMO’s (MAPFRE) function just as the local ones but outside of Panama as well & you are limited to choose from a select number of hospitals, doctors & labs.
International policies (open policies, as well international ones with the HMO concept, working through an estiblished network of doctors, labs and hospitals ouside of Panama. Within Panama you can choose any doctor & any hospital.
Major Medical Coverage (only hospitalization expenses covered)
Local HMO-style policies are useful if you anticipate needing coverage only in Panama. Coverage varies widely, but generally is between US$300,000 and US$500,000 for a lifetime benefit. You are limited to a select group of doctors and hospitals & labs. Go outside the group, and you will be penalized & reimbursed only for just 60% of what would have been paid to the preferred provider.
Deductibles on the HMO policies range form just $300 to $500 annualy per insured person.
International coverage, as the name implies, extends to any country in the world where you incur medical expenses. The amount of coverage varies from $1 million, $2.0 million $2.5 & $5 millions for the life of the policy. These are the “new generation” health insurance policies…since, $1 Million is not enough anymore!
Most companies require you to have a Panama residence or at least to reside 10 months per year in the country, -with a couple of exceptions- since the rates in Panama are so very much lower than in the U.S. or Europe or Canada.
International coverage is clearly most suited to people who travel frequently and those who would like to have the freedom of receiving medical treatment in the U.S. or elsewhere & want to be properly/adecuatly/completely protected, since travel insurance will never do the job entirely.
Some of the companies will cover your expenses generated anywhere in the world, some thru direct payment, and others through reimbursement, depending on the carrier. This means, you pay the bill, bring home the receipts, and present the claim to the broker for processing & reimbursement.
Because the U. S. is an important destination for Panamanians, the international coverage type companies have established relations with a network of hospitals and doctors through an adminstration company in the U. S. You need only to present your health insurance card in the U. S.
and the service is provided and billed directly, after your deductible & co insurance. The admistrative company takes care of everything all you have to keep in mind is that if it is an elective treatment or surgery, you need to be pre – approved.
It is important always to contact the assigned administrative company before! The deductibles available for international coverage vary from $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 per year. This way you can choose the deductible that you feel comfortable with and administer your premiums directly.
Premiums rise with age
For the purpose of proper or adequate use of the international coverages, if it is an elective treatment (versus an emergency one) you MUST get a preauthorization in Panama from the insurance carrier before leaving the country & allowing them to notify their administrative associate in order to proceed w/the coordination of the service to be provided.
Health insurance carriers review their rates annually and adjust them based on their experience in the market and/or the claim experience of a particular client, as well as the increased cost of the hospitals and medical supplies.
You can also expect an increase in premium when you move from one age bracket to another. Increases vary, but are generally in the range of 5% to 15% annually, depending on your particular case.
Priscilla McLeod Sosa has been 38 years established as an Insurance Broker. We work with all of the different insurance carriers established in Panama. As well, we handle ALL TYPES OF INSURANCE AVAILABLE in this market. After meeting with the potential client, and finding out about their individual insurance needs, we choose the best products with the most interesting rates for the clients and request several quotations and submit to them, since our efforts are driven to achieve complete customer satisfaction This we accomplish by analyzing the different alternatives with the client in order to determine the level of risk and exposure desired by each one.
We are proud to offer our clients an ample and complete range of insurance brokerage services and obtaining this objective is what has driven this company to succeed. Our satisfaction is the protection and the and the well-being that we offer our clients thru our work. We do Life insurance, health insurance, Construction All Risk policies, auto, property casualty, fire, Liability, Homeowners, Transportation (maritime and aereo) , Bonds of all types , Aviation, Maritime Hull, All Risk policies, Accidental Death and Benefits, etc.
Today , Priscilla McLeod & Asoc., S.A. is an important player in the local market. Founded by
Priscilla McLeod Sosa in January 1977 was created with the idea of providing high quality service in this insurance industry. Since then, our focus has been attending client needs with adequate solutions thus, having been able to develop a vast understanding of the insurance field in the local market.
Our staff takes care of Claim Services, since we believe that adequate coordination, control and management of claim, goes beyond calculating the payment of claims and for that reason, we coordinate with the insurance company the established procedures for claim management. As well, we also offer our clients Collection Services.
Today, we feel truly satisfied because the efforts of Priscilla McLeod & Asoc., S.A. and its collaborators has harvested tangible results, since we have grown together with our clients.
This has earned us the respect of our colleagues and the support of the insurance companies.
Our goal is to dedicate our best efforts to maintaining our policy of professional ethics and technical expertise offering excellence in our work.
Our information is as follows:
PRISCILLA McLEOD & ASOC., S.A.
ADVANCED TOWER BUILDING
Calle Ricardo Arias & 52nd Street
(Banking Center Area, caddy corner w/the
Marriott Hotel Casino)
Sixth Floor - Suite #6-B
Tels. (507) 223-4925, 269-5249
Fax. (507) 269-5033
Priscilla McLeod & Asociados, S. A. was founded in 1977 in Panama City, The company markets all types of insurance. “I consider myself a female pioneer in this industry,” Priscilla says. The industry was male dominated when she started her business.