According to this recent article in La Prensa, people coming to Panama for medical and dental treatments of various kinds is growing dramatically and expected to increase due to the state of the U.S. health care system. My contacts in the medical field here in Panama echo these beliefs as they have seen a growing number of North Americans coming for various treatments which are much lower in cost than their home country. A recent trip I made to Costa Rica showed me just how advanced they are in this form of tourism. The small hotel I stayed in had folks sitting around the breakfast table talking about the various treatments they had come to receive. With Panama having a Johns Hopkins affiliated facility along with a number of top quality practitioners, I think that this is one aspect of tourism that can whether just about any economic storm.
Machine translated from La Prensa
The government anticipates an explosive demand for medical tourism to Panama after the health reform pending in the U.S., according to the five-year plan submitted by the Executive.
Americans could choose Panama, whereas in other places there is an increase in waiting times for medical procedures and fix denial of claims.
Ricardo Martinelli administration estimates that the country could reach between 500 thousand and 700 thousand patients each year.
Current demand is estimated between 65 thousand and 80 thousand patients annually and is expected to increase after the boom in U.S. retirees who seek health services abroad.
Panama would benefit a rise in the consumption of health services in emerging markets and regional and stress on health systems in North America.
The plan also mentions the recognition of the improved value for money over health in developing markets worldwide.
A source linked to this economic sector said that the market is growing and is projected to see more foreigners in our country to be treated. Private health services represent less than 30% of annual expenditure of 1.8 billion on health in Panama, including the expense of regional clinics and nonprofit organizations.