Free medical insurance for tourists cancelled

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Pag 5_fmtThe Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) has cancelled the free 30-day medical insurance offered to visitors to the country. The decision was taken June 30, 2014 when it was decided not to renew the policy.

From now on, all travelers to Panama will have to buy their own medical insurance before arriving, or face having to account for the full cost of any medical expenses. Until two months ago, if a tourist suffered an accident while on holiday here, the free medical insurance would cover them.

The ATP used this free medical insurance to attract visitors to the country, one of the few in the world to provide this perk. However, with the Isthmus becoming a more popular destination, the scheme was put under review.

During the first two months of the year, 260 visitors made use of the free medical attention while 2,918 tourists took advantage of this service last year. During the last three year the State has paid more than $8 million for this medical benefit. For each tourist and Panamanian living abroad entering the country from the Tocumen International Airport, the ATP paid $1.95.

Tourists utilizing this service the most were Venezuelans, Colombians and U.S. citizens, because they are the country´s largest groups of visitors. The policy covered hospitalization and medical expenses up to $7,000 for injuries caused by accident or illness and $40,000 for international transfer to a hospital center.

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