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Alto al Crimen announces very low cost medical discount plan

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Alto al Crimen announces a very economical medical discount plan---Ready Now!!


A big thanks to the large crowd who attended our presentation at the Tuesday Meeting this week. But even a large crowd at the BCP theater is only a small fraction of the people in Boquete's expat community. Consequently, we're sending this announcement via local internet media to be able to reach a much larger segment of the expat population here.


This is a long announcement; please bear with us and read it all the way through. We need to convey this information to all expats who need a low-cost medical discount plan.


What we targeted was an extremely affordable medical discount plan that will give people access to good medical care from good doctors and a good hospital


First, think about this. If you want to fly from New York City to Bangkok, you can fly on Emirates Airlines business class for more than $7200 or you could book economy class on another airline for a little over $500. Emirates would lavish you with luxury, including cold, scented towels to put on your neck, but the bottom line is you would get to Bangkok either way.


I say that to say this. You can have a high end luxury medical discount plan or insurance policy if you want it and can afford it. Or you can have a fully adequate plan with low prices and large discounts. Most of the time people pay insurance premiums on their houses and cars while sincerely hoping they don't have a car accident or a house fire or a burglary. Most of the time they win their bets and have no claims during the year. The same is true with medical insurance or other plans. But if you DO have a problem, it is good to have a way to keep your costs as low as possible.


The plan Alto al Crimen is able to make available to our existing “members” and others in the community who wish to sign up for our AAC Hotline service is with a hospital you possibly have not even heard of. The hospital is Hospital Cooperativo, and the plan is called “Medicina Solidaria.” A good translation of “Medicina Solidaria” is people supporting and backing up medical care for themselves and other people. Hospital Cooperativo is truly a cooperative organization which charges low prices and operates on a truly cooperative, non-profit basis. At each year's end any gains that might otherwise be thought of as profits are used for developing and improving the hospital and its services and not paid to any investors.


Hospital Cooperativo is a small hospital. It has ten hospital rooms (There are 12 rooms at hospital Mae Lewis.) There are 15 to 20 affiliated doctors, a small staff of nurses and an administrative staff.


The hospital has an emergency room, a pharmacy, a small cafeteria and a laboratory capable of performing most normal laboratory functions. It has a well-equipped operating room, an X-ray facility and an untrasound room. Most of the staff speak no English, but many of the doctors do speak English. The hospital director has a son who is a doctor in David who could be called on to translate for emergency room patients. Also, Franc Lugo, our AAC Hotline operator can call ahead for people enroute by ambulance, explain the nature of the medical problem and stand by to translate by telephone.


The hospital offers services in the following medical areas: General Medicine, Internal Medicine, Emergency Room, Pediatric Medicine, Surgery, Gynecology, Cardiology, Cardiovascular Medicine, Otolaryngology, Radiology, Orthopedics, Reumatology, Dermatology, Physical medicine and Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy, Nutrition and Psychology


As I have mentioned, every effort is made to keep prices low because the mission of the hospital to to provide good medical services at prices people can afford. There is emphasis on not ordering unnecessary laboratory tests or X-rays---only what is needed.


Here is a list of applicable discounts for group members.


Emergency Room – 50%


Operating Room – 30%


Hospital Rooms – 30%


Injections – 30%


Medicines in the Farmacy – 25%


Specialist Consults -- 20%


Laboratory Tests – 30%


Ultrasound – 20%


X-rays – 20%


Intravenous fluids – 20%



As an example to put the discounts in context, the cost to a group member for Emergency Room service is $7.50, and the daily cost for a hospital room is $42 to $49.


As more members are added to the group, the hospital will continue to improve and expand its facilities. When the group (including Panamanians and expats) reaches 2,000 members, there will be a reduction in the already-low cost. There are already plans for next year to add 4 to 5 more beds, to enlarge the laboratory and to add three offices for doctors.


Hospital Cooperativo is the ONLY cooperative hospital in Panama, and it has been in operation for thirty years.


If you are well-off financially and want full medical insurance with all the bells and whistles, that is very reasonable for you. But if you are looking for a way to have quality medical care at low and discounted prices the Medicina Solidaria plan Alto al Crimen can make available is very possibly your best choice. If you are paying or considering paying $2,000 to $5,000 per year for medical insurance, instead you could become a member of the AAC/Hospital Cooperativo plan and put the insurance premiums in a savings account for medical contingencies. All your routine medical care could be taken care of through the very inexpensive discount plan. If you need no expensive procedures, your money will still be in the bank for future use, and you can add more every year. If you were paying medical insurance premiums, they would be gone whether or not you had any major expenses..


HOW MUCH? We will offer the group plan and include your AAC Hotline service for $150 per year. For other persons in the same household, the cost will be $125 per year. Because of the very low cost, there are no other family discounts. We need to require annual payments to minimize bookkeeping costs and administrative hassles. There is no waiting period, and there are no pre-existing condition restrictions. Also there are no age limits.


We have an enrollment open season through January 17, 2017. Thereafter membership renewals will be due in January every year. Each group member will be issued a wallet card for use at the hospital, and each doctor's office and other hospital office that provides services will have a list of all annual-paid members to verify their status.


Signing up involves executing a simple contract, providing personal information for your wallet card and paying $150 by check or cash. If you are not already registered for the AAC Hotline service, you will need to sign up and provide information for our data base, including detailed directions for finding hour home.


Depending on the level of demand, we will have one or more sign-up opportunities before the last sign-up day on 17 January 2017. Several ;people did not have their money of check books this week, so another sign-up opportunity is being scheduled for December 20 at the BCP market, where we will have a table.


Below is an English translation of the Medicina Solidaria contract. For legal reasons, the actual contracts will be in Spanish.



In the city of David, Province of Chiriqui, Republic of Panama, on the _______ day of the month _________ in the year ______---. between the COOPERATIVO DE SALUD CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. (CUMECOOP, R.L.) a non-profit entity located in the district of David, Barriada Manuel Quintero Villarreal, Avenida Tercera  West and C Street North, represented in this act by Dr. Ruben Dario Corre, male Panamanian, adult, married, with cedula #6-9-101 in his position of President of the Directors of the Cooperative. The following are the clauses & conditions of the plan.

FIRST CLAUSE: The COOPERATIVO DE SALUD CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. (CUMECOOP, R.L.) will offer the USER of the PLAN SOLIDARIO OF COOPERATIVE HEALTH that credits your status such that the Medical Servicess stipulated in CLAUSE 6 of this agreement & whose scope of coverage is established only within the installations of Hospital Cooperativo, located in the city of David, Province of Chiriqui, Republic of Panama.

SECOND CLAUSE: in order to credit your status as a USER of the PLAN SOLIDARIO OF COOPERATIVE HEALTH, you commit to pay $10.00 monthly for the direct discount _______ or pay voluntarily through the window _____ to the COOPERATIVO DE SALUD CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. (CUMECOOP, R.L.) (AAC NOTE: AAC members will only make annual payments, and no monthly payments will be involved.)

THIRD CLAUSE: The COOPERATIVO DE SALUD CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. commits to furnish an ID card to identify you as a beneficiary of the services. It will also furnish a card for registering payment & health services received at Hospital Cooperativo.

(AAC NOTE: AAC members will not need the payment record card. In actuality, it does not have spaces to show health services received. A list of annual-paid members will be places in every doctor's office and other service location in the hospital to verify your paid status.)

FOURTH CLAUSE: This cooperative health plan agreement grant the benefit of discounts only to the person who signs this contract and is not transferable. In order to receive the benefits authorized to the USER of the PLAN SOLIDARIO OF COOPERATIVE HEALTH, the person must present his card & the card that also lists the monthly payments. (AAC NOTE: AAC will arrange for an official annotation on the card to show payment has been made until a date one year after the date of the contract.)

FIFTH CLAUSE: The user of the plan must complete his monthly payments of $10.00. If that is not done, he will lose coverage, and the contract will be terminated without any refunds. (AAC NOTE: This will not apply except after the date one year after the date of the contract when another annual payment will be due. If that payment is not made, the services will be terminated.)

SIXTH CLAUSE: The COOPERATIVA CENTRAL DE URGENCIAS MEDICAS, R.L. commits to give discounts for the following health services offered at Hospital Cooperativo:


 OPERATING ROOM ….....................30%

 HOSPITAL ROOM….........................30%

 START IV (VENOCLISIS).................30%


 SPECIALIST CONSULTS ..............20%

 LABORATORY TESTS …...............30%

 ULTRASOUND TESTS …...............30%

 X-RAYS …........................................30%


After reading this contract and its clauses and in witness whereof, the parties hereby proceed to sign the same.

Given in the city of David on the __________________ day of _________________

of the year _____________

__________________________________       ____________________________

USER OF THE PLAN SOLIDARIO DE .      Dr. Luis Wong to. CDD: 4-95-987

SALUD COOPERATIVA CUMECOOP R.I.   Administrative Director


COOPERATIVE MEDICINE:   The Alternative Model of Health Services Management in Panama”


If anyone would like a copy of the PowerPoint slides from the presentation on Tuesday, please send an email request to rhgusn@yandex.com, and one will be sent to you. This is a bit cumbersome, but I don't yet have the PowerPoint file posted on a web site.



Alto al Crimen is a non-profit foundation which provides valuable community services and is funded by donations. We need and solicit your support. We need you to help us so that we can help you.


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Thank you, Bob.

By way of reminder, below are the discounts applicable by law:

5. Hospitals and private clinics give 15% off the total bill for services.

6. Pharmacies give 20% off the value of drugs purchased by prescription. 

7. Other medical services discounts

20% consultation fees of general medicine and medical and surgery specialists

15% on dental services

15% for optometry services

20% on all prostheses and all aid accessories

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Here are the discounts advertised by Rodny Direct, as contained in an e-mail sent to members:

Hospital Mae Lewis is offering Rodny Direct members a 20% discount on all hospital services, such as room rates, MRIs, ultrasounds, X-rays, lab work and more. Irma from Keep it Simple Panama has a list of the actual prices, so we know what 20% means in real dollars. 


This 20% discount is valid for all Rodny Direct members regardless of pre-exiting conditions or age. There is a 22% discount on the list price of medications. The discounts include the normal jubilado discount. But for those who are not jubilado, the full 20% is in effect, a very large discount. 


We are not going to publish the price list, but if you need specific prices for procedures, call Irma who has all the current information. Irma is also willing to work with you on discounts for specialists who are not currently part of this package. 


These discounts at Mae Lewis hospital begin January 1, 2017 and will be reviewed as to success in April 2017. Mae Lewis reserves the right to cancel the program on May 1, 2017. If the program succeeds as we expect, it will be continued thereafter.


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