A new program by the Panamanian government includes travel insurance for all visitors entering the country on tourist visas. The New York Times recently wrote this article and accompanied the story with a picture of a man in a bikini bottom (I’m not sure if he is in need of medical attention or not). Regardless, this is a great idea for tourism in Panama and not something I have heard about being done elsewhere.
The insurance is paid for by a $40 departure tax and the insurance expires 30 days after entry. The coverage allows $7,000 in treatment for accidents or disease, $2,000 for emergency dental, and $20,000 for accidental death. Even accidents during adventure activities (horseback riding, white water rafting, fishing, etc.) are covered, which is a good point to make clear to tourists.
The insurance does not cover accidents or death involving alcohol or drugs, nor does it extend to prior illnesses or conditions. Had the insurance covered accidents and death caused by alcohol and drugs, Panama and Bocas del Toro could have expected a much hipper crowd. Here at Bocas Villas we could have had the type of traveler who feels good about coming to a foreign country and overdosing on street drugs. As the program is, I think we can expect to attract professional adults, responsible travelers and small families. So, instead of going for the hip, chemically and financially unstable tourists, the insurance appeals to a more responsible, professional group of people, just the kind we want to come visit our beautiful islands.