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Health Insurance


Ah, health insurance – such a necessary evil (or evil necessity). At this writing, the U.S. Supreme Court has just announced that it is upholding a key provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as the ACA or Obamacare. We believe the ACA is a step in the right direction for U.S. citizens but still has a long way to go towards ensuring universal, affordable healthcare for all. Hopefully, with this ruling, the politicians will stop wasting time and resources trying to defeat the act and start working on how to make it better (and on that day the air will fill with porcine aviators!).

Lucky for you, I’ll get off that soapbox and explain how John and I are approaching the health insurance dilemma as Panama expats. It’s a complicated topic, so hang on!

January 2024 update: We have learned from our attorney that new expats who are awarded the “M” (for Migrant) visa are no longer eligible to sign up for Colombia’s EPS healthcare system. People like us, who already hold M visas, are allowed to stay enrolled. We don’t know the status for other types of visas; best to talk to an immigration attorney to find out. Healthcare was a big motivator for us to become expats. When we first started germinating the idea of retiring outside the U.S. (at least 15 years ago), we weren’t yet at an age where we needed a lot of healthcare services. But we knew that day would come – and we had no faith (we still don’t) that the U.S. would ever adopt a universal and affordable healthcare system like basically the rest of the developed world. But why Colombia? As our adopted home for five…

Our first three months in Medellin have been busy. We’ve been preoccupied with getting our long-term visas and cédulas (a cédulas is a type of ID card that you need to conduct most business here), opening a bank account, signing up for healthcare, and — biggest of all — securing and furnishing a long-term rental. On top of it all, Susan had to deal with another major life event, the passing of her beloved dad on Jan. 26 in Texas. None of this left much time for sight-seeing, but now that we can take a breath, we’re getting reacquainted with everything that made us fall in love with Medellín to begin with. For those who don’t know, Colombians pronounce certain double-l words with a j, so “Medellín” sounds like med-a-jean.   A roof over our heads Almost every day I say to Susan, “I love Laureles!” And she says back, “Really, babe?…

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