When most people talk about vacationing or retiring in Nicaragua they mention the stunning coastline, the Spanish colonial architecture, the low cost of living Â even the tropical climate. Although many people come to Nicaragua for these reasons, an overlooked fact is that the country also offers high-quality healthcare.
If you are considering traveling or moving to Nicaragua, read on to learn more about health care in Nicaragua.
What to Expect in Nicaragua
Since so many Americans, Canadians and Europeans consider Nicaragua a premier destination, it is only logical to look at healthcare in Nicaragua compared to the standards of these locales. The first thing to know is that the "language barrier" doesn't necessarily have to present a problem.
Qualified bilingual doctors and medical professionals specializing in almost every area of medical practice are available in Nicaragua. In fact, many of the healthcare professionals in the country received their training in the United States.
Others honed their skills in Mexico, Europe, Cuba or the Caribbean before settling down in Nicaragua. Of course, if you are in one of the more rural areas, you will have to travel further for specialized medical attention.
Nicaragua is divided into departments, similar to states or provinces, and each department typically has its own public hospital. The cost of medical care is very reasonable, with a variety of coverage choices for foreigners that can take care of everything from maternity costs to life-threatening ailments.
There are several hospitals and highly-specialized healthcare centers in the Managua area. The two most recognized hospitals in Managua are the Hospital Bautista and the Vivian Pellas Metropolitan Hospital.
Things You May Not Have Known about Nicaragua Healthcare
- Many people report that the cost of doctor visits, routine treatments, and services such as X-rays and mammograms cost less than a typical co-pay in the United States or Europe.
- Vivian Pellas Metropolita, a private hospital in Managua that opened in 2004, is considered one of the finest hospitals in Central America. It's the only hospital in Nicaragua that the U.S.-based Joint Commission International Accreditation organization is considering accrediting. The hospital is open 24 hours a day. More than 300 of Nicaragua's best medical personnel are employed there. These professionals deal with all types of medicine including: gynecology, cardiology, orthopedics, pediatric, internal medicine, neurology, urology and ophthalmology. The hospital boasts a pain clinic, pharmacy, maternity ward, laboratory and children's burn unit.
- U.S. Social Security and Medicare programs may not cover hospital or medical costs outside of America. Your health insurance plans may not cover you while overseas or pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States. But there are many other options available such as obtaining local insurance.
- Pharmacies and medical laboratories are fairly plentiful and can generally be found in any town with over a few hundred people. Some drugs that are not yet available in the United States, but are approved and manufactured in Europe, are available in Nicaragua.
- Nicaragua recently banned all forms of abortions because of an agreement between the Catholic Church and the current government.
- You'll find that health care in Nicaragua is high quality and costs much less than in the United States or Europe. Emergency treatment in public hospitals is even free.
Just like it is in your home country, the best way to find a good doctor or dentist is to ask the people you trust. Talk with expatriates and frequent travelers to get their opinion.
The reasons people are not only vacationing and retiring, but investing in Nicaragua are the same reasons experts and publications such as International Living and channels such as MSNBC refer to Nicaragua as "The World's Best Kept Retirement Secret" and one of the "best places to retire overseas." Besides the fun, sun, low cost of living and exciting activities, the country's healthcare system is one more reason to visit or buy real estate in Nicaragua.