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Health Care In Belize

Navigating the Belize Health Care System

In the recent years the government of Belize (GOB) has taken steps toward improving the country’s deficient health care system. Most residents of Belize realize that making major overhauls to the health care facilities and overall system is likely to take many years.

Health care in Belize isn’t up to international standards and is behind the standard of even its neighboring countries. With a small, but growing population of just over 340,000, and many living in poverty, a high standard of health care in Belize just isn’t economically viable. Certainly not to the levels you would be used to in North America or Europe. While living in Belize, day-to-day ailments can be adequately treated—and for a reasonable price. The main public hospital in Belize City is the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and probably the country’s most well-known hospital. Generally speaking, expats opt for private health care, which is still very affordable. There are a few private health care providers which seem to be the favorites among expats, those being Belize Medical Associates, La Loma Luz Hospital, and Belize Healthcare Partners Limited.

If you need a high level of medical care or ongoing treatments and medical attention, Belize may not the best option for you. Many expats head to Mexico or back to the United States for more complicated procedures. This allows many retirees to take advantage of Medicare or other forms of insurance, while receiving top-notch medical care. Located just north of the Belize/Mexico border in Yucatan, Chetumal and Merida offer a higher level of medical care.

Remember to specify evacuation cover on your insurance policy if you see yourself needing to seek health care overseas once in Belize; helicopter ambulances are costly.

The Cost of Health Care in Belize

Belize health care costs are generally well below those of North America or European countries. Most expats estimate that they spend anywhere from 45-70% of what they would spend on the same procedures back home. Nearly every city has a public hospital where at least basic health care is provided for a very small fee – under U.S.$5.00. It is typical to have to wait a few hours for service, unless you have a major emergency. Visiting a private doctor for a checkup or minor ailment is likely to be anywhere from U.S. $25.00 to U.S. $75.00, including medicine.

Pharmacies in Belize

It is fairly easy to find a well-stocked pharmacy in Belize. Some of the smaller cities might not have the exact prescription, but offer something comparable. The prices are roughly the same price, if not slightly cheaper, than what you would pay in North America or Europe. Major pharmacies will carry most medications from most of the major pharmaceutical manufacturers (Abbott, Pfizer, Merck, etc.). At most smaller pharmacies a doctors prescription is not necessary for minor ailments, however larger pharmacies have begun asking for them much more regularly.