Updated 04:18 AM EST, Wed, Jan 20, 2021

Latin American Countries that Offer Top Expat Healthcare

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The lack of access to quality health care is one of the biggest reasons why expats think twice about settling in tropical countries like those in South America. If it means that they won't be able to enjoy their years with both health and safety, expats would rather live the stressful life in the big city than chill at the beach somewhere in the tropics.

However, there are actually some countries that provide great health care for expats. According to Nearshore Americas, three of four of them are found in Latin America. Check them out:

  1. Colombia -- International Living noted that healthcare in Colombia is of "top quality and affordable." In 1991, the country drafted new laws saying that health is a basic human right, and that applies to each and every person --- citizens and foreigners alike. The court system also standy by this right, and if an insurance company refuses to pay for a recommended treatment, the denial of service can be contested using a legal instrument called the "tutela," which can be filed with any civil court. Not only that, while most civil cases can be stalled for years, the tutelas are required to be ruled on within three days -- often in favor of the patients.
  2. Costa Rica -- There are two healthcare systems in the country, both of which are accessible to expats. First is the government-run system, while the other is the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, or Caja, which is the private system. Healthcare in Costa Rica costs only a third to a fifth of what expats would pay in the US. Drugs are also considerably less expensive, which is a great deal by any standard. Also, most doctors and medical practitioners received training in Europe and Canada, and speak English, which makes for better communication.
  3. Panama -- Many doctors are US-trained, and the top hospitals in Panama can compare to those in the US, Canada, and Europe. The largest of them is affiliated with First World facilities. By 2011, Panama boasted of a Johns Hopkins-affiliated facility, the Hospital Punta Pacifica, which is also known as among the most technologically advanced hospitals in Latin America. Finally, it was noted that most of the medications are available even without a prescription. For those that do need doctor's orders, prescription drugs are also cheap, as manufacturers are said to price them specifically for the Panama market.

These Latin American countries are beautiful in their own right, but which place are you inclined to retire to considering their great expat healthcare access?

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