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OFF BEAT: Panama offers free medical insurance to tourists to boost tourism

Posted On: Feb. 10, 2012 12:00 AM CST

In efforts to promote tourism, Panama last week announced that it is offering free medical insurance for tourists that covers them for the first 30 days they are in the country.

The coverage is offered by Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., which acquired a three-year contract for $12 million to issue the policies in conjunction with the Panamanian government, according to the Panama Tourism Authority.

Once visitors arrive at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City, they can obtain a health insurance brochure and medical user card at the tourist information center, according to tourism officials.

If a medical emergency occurs, tourists can present the card, along with a passport, at any medical center to receive treatment.

“Health insurance is an incentive for tourists visiting Panama as well as all other attractions of the country as a tourist destination,” said Solomon Shamah, Panama’s director of tourism, in a news statement. “Those who take advantage of the health services in the country will see that Panama is an ideal place for medical tourism with highly trained physicians and hospitals.”

The policy covers accidental death up to $20,000, hospitalization, medical expenses for injuries up to $7,000, and dental emergencies up to $2,000, among others, according to news statements.

Exclusions to the policy include incidents caused by drugs, alcohol, negligence or extreme sports, according to tourism officials.