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Health Insurance in Panama

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    Health insurance is one the key elements of Panama's healthcare architecture, providing residents and expatriates alike access to medical services. In this article, we discuss the type of health insurance available in Panama, the pros and cons they offer, the costs involved, and considerations for choosing the right policy.

    Panama Health System in Brief

    The healthcare system in Panama includes both the public sector, which is open to all residents, and the private one, which provides access to care faster and under better conditions. Most doctors and medical practitioners in Panama have been trained internationally, hence the standard of care.

    Types of Health Insurance in Panama

    1. Public Health Insurance: Provided by the Social Security Fund (Caja de Seguro Social - CSS), is mainly financed by contributions from salaries. It provides comprehensive coverage including hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescriptions. Expatriates employed in Panama are obligated to contribute to this system.
    2. Local Private Health Insurance: Private insurance policies in Panama can be acquired from both local and international insurance companies. These policies offer access to the best private hospitals in town, ensuring faster appointments and services. Due to the treatment quality, many people living in Panama prefer to only go to private facilities since they do not rely on public healthcare. The Public sector can be unreliable sometimes because of the high number of patients.
    3. International Private Health Insurance: For people who travel frequently or those who reside outside of Panama for an extended time, international health insurance packages give the best flexibility. These policies are typically more expensive but provide coverage worldwide.

    Private Health Insurance

    Benefits of Private Health Insurance in Panama:

    • Quality of Care: Panama's private clinics and hospitals are high-rated and will provide a level of service comparable to the U.S. or Europe.
    • Affordability: Compared to North America and Europe, the price of insurance premiums are relatively cheap.
    • Access to Private Healthcare: Health insurance offered by the private sector enables people to stay in private hospitals and clinics, which are usually modern with high-quality facilities and highly skilled staff.
    • Fast Service: In contrast with public healthcare, privatized healthcare services provide quicker appointments.

    Some of the best private hospitals in Panama City are listed below:


    The cost of health insurance in Panama varies widely depending on the provider, the extent of coverage, and the policyholder’s age and health condition. Private health insurance plans are considered quite affordable, with local options ranging from approximately $50 to $300 a month​​. The price of international health insurance can fluctuate between $100 and $400 a month. It is essential to compare policies and providers to find the best match by means of price and services provided

    Choosing the Right Policy

    Determinate Your Health Care Needs

    Begin by assessing the health care requirements of yourself and anyone who will be covered under your policy. Consider existing medical conditions, potential risk factors, and the age of each person to be insured. It's important to note that many insurance providers in Panama and internationally are hesitant to onboard clients over the age of 65, and pre-existing conditions are typically not covered. Coverage levels vary quite a bit between different policies. While some may offer comprehensive cover for hospital stays, surgeries and doctor visits, others may specialize in particular areas such as child or maternity care. For ongoing health issues, ensure your policy covers relevant treatments and medications.

    Understanding Economic Aspects of Each Plan

    It’s essential to carefully review the economic aspects of each plan, and be aware of the type of payments: premiums, deductibles, and co-payments:

    • Premiums are the regular payments made, usually monthly, to have health insurance.
    • A deductible is an amount that you have to pay for covered healthcare services before insurance begins paying.
    • Co-pays are standard fees for certain visits.

    The goal is to find a compromise between the cost of the insurance and the coverage it provides. There is no point in paying for a plan with excessive coverage that could lead you to pay for services you don't necessarily need.

    Network of Providers

    Make sure that the insurance policy includes a wide network of hospitals and clinics throughout Panama, especially those recognized for quality care. For those considering a local Panamanian insurance provider, make sure they offer support and resources in English if you're not fluent in Spanish. Hospital and clinic websites often list the insurance companies they work with under a section typically labelled "aseguradoras".

    Understanding Ambulance Services

    Choose an insurance plan that offers private ambulance services, ensuring prompt and dependable transportation in emergencies. Many plans cover these services in full up to a certain limit.

    List of Health Insurance Companies

    • MAPFRE : MAPFRE is one of the most popular local health insurance providers with plans that include renowned clinics like Hospital Punta Pacífica, Hospital San Fernando, Hospital Paitilla, and The Panama Clinic.
    • Assanet : The local company offers local and international plans, with a network of 800+ doctors and specialists in Panama and worldwide. It partners with more than 15 clinics in Panama.
    • Palig : Pan-American Life Insurance Group is a leading provider of insurance and financial services with a Health Trust plan accepted at the leading private medical hospital.
    • Cignaglobal : International Medical Plans offered by Cigna Global offer a global support network of hospitals and medical professionals.
    • Axa : International health insurance is designed to give cover to people living in another country or travel overseas often. They offer cover for both emergency and routine healthcare.

    Sources & Foot Notes

    [1] ExpatDen - Health Insurance in Panama: An Overview
    [2] ExpatDen - Best Local Health Insurance Plans in Panama

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