We decided that it was time to start thinking about getting some sort of health insurance. Everyone who arrives in Panama automatically has 30 days of free health insurance so we have exceeded that time limit and felt it would be a good idea to do something about getting our own healthcare. We have read a lot online about all the different choices and from what we have read it sounds like Hospital Chiriqui is our best option. So off to David we went today after my class. We had seen the hospital the other day when we were cruising around with Joel and Kris and they made sure we knew exactly where it was. We had a bit of a problem trying to figure out exactly where we were supposed to go after entering the main area of the hospital. They have a little sign that has all the room numbers and floor numbers and with our limited spanish it was not an easy task to try to figure out where to go to talk with someone about signing up for a health insurance plan. We could see that something that looked like administration was on Piso 1(floor 1) room 114? Hmmmmm… We assumed that we were already on the first floor of the building so we wandered around attempting to find room 114 but it was nowhere to be found…. so we went and stared at the sign in the entrance some more until Scott had a lightbulb moment and he realized we needed to go upstairs to the first floor!!! Duh!! Yes! Room 114 was upstairs and we were soon sitting behind the desk of a really helpful woman named Irma Castillo. She gave us a brochure to read that had all the rates on it and we gave her our passports to make copies of and all our contact info. The health insurance is very affordable and totally straightforward. The cost for us will be $75.00 a month, that’s $45.00 for me and $30.00 for Scott, because I’m six months older I am the primary on the policy. When I turn 50 it will go up to $60.00 a month and Scott will go up to $50.00 a month. By the time we turn 80 years old it will cost $260.00 a month for us both. After what we were paying in the states these rates are incredibly affordable.
In order to complete the application for insurance we had to go downstairs , Irma walked us down there , and have a chest ex ray and an EKG. These tests cost $72.00 for us both. Yep, that’s right “FOUR” procedures…$36.00 each!! Then we need to fast for 8 hours before we have a blood test done to complete the requirements for the application. Luckily Irma gave us a form to take to the local Boquete clinic for the blood test , which we will do tomorrow. All in all we felt pretty good about how this first experience went, even though it was a bit of a wait for the two procedures we had done this afternoon . We just tried to remain “Tranquillo” as we stood in the hall and waited for our names to be called. We have experienced many longer waiting times in hospitals in the U.S. only difference is that those waits cleaned out our pocketbooks!! After we complete the blood test and they receive all the results of our tests we will return to Irma’s office , sometime next week and complete the application process. I really like the fact that we wont be getting a bill in the mail, they simply automatically charge our credit card each month. So far this healthcare part of our Adventure is pretty simple.