Belize can be good for your health. One of the positives of a Belizean lifestyle, is that compared to the usual way of living in developed countries, immigrants walk and exercise more, get more fresh air and eat basic, healthy meals consisting mainly of mixed carbohydrates and tropical fruits. A Russian immigrant sous chef says that after a year in Belize he went for a medical check-up. He was pleasantly surprised to find that his blood pressure was down 10 points and his weight down 20 pounds. “But what do you expect?” he asks, smiling. “I live near the beach, walk a kilometre to work and eat mostly fresh seafood and tropical fruit.”
For routine primary care, most foreign residents in Belize make do with the low-cost public system, or they go to a private physician, dentist or clinic. Mostly they pay cash. Many “self-insure,” taking a calculated risk that what they save in medical insurance premiums will more than pay for their actual medical costs in Belize. Health insurance policies for care in Belize are available through a few insurance companies in Belize.
If you can accept long waits and less than state-of-the-art medical technology, you won’t have to spend all of your pension income to afford care. “Medical, dental and eye care is a fraction of the cost of the U.S. I have my teeth checked and cleaned for US$40., pay U.S. $10 to $20 for an office visit to my physician, and medications are cheap,” says one Texan who now lives in Belize full-time. Even if you opt for private care, office visits to a physician generally are just US$20 to $40. A root canal with crown might cost US $250. to U.S.$500, although some Belize dentists charge more.
Hospitalization runs under US $100. per day except for private rooms that average U.S. $250 to $300. depending on the medical provider. If you are quoted more, you are probably being ripped off. Shop around, ask questions and suggestions from expats and Belizeans to get the best deal and avoid health care providers more interested in your wallet than your well being.
Prescription drug costs vary but generally are less expensive than in the U.S. A course of common antibiotics such as cloranfenicol can be had for just US $8. Pharmacies are all over the place in all cities in Belize and in all towns. Prescription drugs in Belize are usually dispensed in plastic baggies or envelopes rather than in bottles.