Health Care In Belize (2024)

Retiring in Belize can be an attractive option for anyone who wants to move somewhere new. Of course, you likely have some questions about the healthcare Belize offers new residents.

The good news is that the healthcare system is relatively well-developed and robust. However, it is not equivalent to that of the United States or the European Union. Read on to learn more about the Belizean healthcare system and important considerations for retirees.

How the Belizean Healthcare System Works

In Belize, healthcare is both public and private. The Ministry of Health oversees the health sector and provides the majority of healthcare services to the population of Belize. There are hospitals and clinics in every major city and town as well as many other population centers.

The majority of Belizeans receive free or low-cost care through the public health system. However, the public health system often has more demand than supply. So, it is common for Belizeans who can afford it to take advantage of the private healthcare system.

Some doctors operate private practices offering services for fees. The private healthcare industry is relatively small and only serves a niche portion of the population. This means these practices can focus more on quality of care and quality improvement. As well, the private sector is still relatively inexpensive compared to private healthcare in many other countries, such as the United States.

How To Get Into the Belizean Healthcare System

Handling your basic healthcare needs in Belize is quite easy thanks to the public system. Below are some of the steps and considerations you should be aware of when planning to move to Belize. With a little forethought, you can be prepared to meet all your healthcare needs.

Take Advantage of the Public System

Healthcare through the public system is available to everyone in Belize, both residents and visitors. This is typically sufficient to deal with routine healthcare and minor ailments. The treatments are relatively quick and very inexpensive. A visit to the doctor will usually cost $15 to $20. Many Belizeans rely solely on this system for their healthcare.

Consider Private Insurance

Many expats, retirees and wealthier locals prefer having the option of seeing specialists. These providers are usually at private practices. While private healthcare is less expensive than in some other countries, the costs can add up, especially if you have a serious condition. Therefore, it is common to carry private medical insurance.

Purchase Private Insurance

Health Care In Belize (1) Alamy/Kristoffer Tripplaar

There are a few private insurers you can work with if you retire to Belize. Additionally, you may be able to use the same insurance you have in your home country. Talk to your current insurance provider to determine if that is an option. Additionally, talk to your country’s embassy in Belize. They will have information on international insurance. Although you may be able to find slightly cheaper health insurance than in the United States, don’t expect to save big on this expense. These are some of the most popular insurance options:

Cigna Global Health Insurance

Seven Corners

Pacific Prime Broker

Find a Great Doctor

In Belize City, the largest city, there are two very well-regarded practices: Belize Medical Associates and Belize Healthcare Partners. In other areas, simply ask for recommendations. Word of mouth is a great way to learn about good doctors in the area.

Find a Pharmacy

Health Care In Belize (2) Alamy/Godong

Many pharmacies in Belize are well-stocked with common medicines and are easy to work with. Simply look for a convenient pharmacy near you and consider asking neighbors for some recommendations. As with most of the healthcare in Belize, it is easiest to find well-supplied pharmacies in major urban centers.

Return Home for a Time

Many American retirees in Belize travel home for a few days each year to take advantage of their Medicare benefits. This is an especially common practice for people who have conditions that the Belizean healthcare system is not well-equipped to handle.

Have a Plan for Serious Emergencies

Although the healthcare Belizean hospitals can provide is fairly good, the country’s infrastructure is not sufficiently capable of handling major emergencies. There is no level equivalent to a Level I trauma center in the country. Additionally, if you contract a very serious disease, the care may not be sufficient. Have a plan for where you will go if something major happens.

Evaluate Evacuation Coverage

The solution for many people with serious conditions is to be flown to the U.S. for healthcare. However, this can be expensive. Consider evacuation coverage. This will help pay for an ambulance flight, which may cost $15,000 or more. This is especially worthy of consideration if you have any major chronic conditions.

Healthcare-Related Reasons To Retire In Belize

Health Care In Belize (3) Alamy/Wavebreakmedia Ltd UC95

Compared to many countries with advanced healthcare systems, such as the United States, Belize is very inexpensive. The opportunity to have a visit to see a general practitioner for $20 or less can make handling your routine health needs very affordable. Additionally, most medicines can be found at a reasonable price.

Additionally, the healthcare Belize can provide is more substantial than some other possible retirement destinations. Although not as advanced as in some countries, the healthcare services in Belize are reasonably plentiful and high quality. There are many well-organized and well-run service providers that you can rely on for routine healthcare and treating minor ailments.

Overall, Belize is worth consideration for retirees, especially those who are in relatively good health. However, it may not be the country of choice for people who need regular care for more advanced diseases or chronic conditions.

Drawbacks To Consider

One of the major challenges for healthcare recipients in Belize is the lack of a Level I trauma center equivalent. Even perfectly healthy people may get into a serious accident. This concern is something you should plan for no matter how healthy you are.

Another significant drawback is the lack of specialists and specialized equipment for complex diagnostic procedures or treatments. The economy of Belize cannot support substantial investment in cutting-edge medical equipment or personnel. Again, you may want to consider traveling to Mexico or the United States to receive more advanced healthcare than what is available in Belize.

Healthcare For Chronic Health Problem In Belize

Health Care In Belize (4) Alamy/Taylor Jorjorian

People who have serious health problems should hesitate before retiring in Belize. While the country is equipped to handle routine health needs, it is not prepared for more complex diseases that require continued care.

Some retirees have the option to move to Belize and return to their home countries for periodic care. Others can find sufficient facilities in Belize. Here are some common health problems and the level of care you can expect in the country:


Some of the private practices have reasonably developed facilities for treating arthritis. This includes surgery, medication, lifestyle guidance and more. Additionally, some retirees report reduced arthritic pain due to the climate in Belize. There may not be sufficient care for very severe cases, however.

Heart Disease

Cardiovascular diseases account for about a quarter of deaths in Belize, according to WHO. However, this is similar to many other countries. Private practices can help with preventative care and there is some emergency care in the country. However, it may be difficult to get rapid and sufficient heart care at times.


There are not a lot of oncology practices in Belize. Anyone currently dealing with cancer should not move to Belize. While there may be sufficient treatment for relatively unaggressive cancers, more advanced ones require more care than Belize’s system can provide.

Respiratory Disease

Respiratory diseases are relatively common in Belize. As with other serious medical issues, there are some treatment options available. For less severe cases, the providers in Belize are likely sufficient. However, for more advanced cases, it is worth seeking help elsewhere.


Treatment and care for Alzheimer’s are relatively primitive in Belize. However, this is true in a lot of places. Don’t expect to find memory units in retirement homes in Belize.


Care and medication for diabetes can be found relatively easily in Belize. The WHO has been working to improve diabetes care in the country. However, the country is poorly equipped to handle advanced or complex cases.


The treatment for osteoporosis in Belize is relatively undeveloped. Some private practices have basic facilities.

Hospitals In Belize

Health Care In Belize (2024)


How is the health care in Belize? ›

Overview of Healthcare in Belize

Despite the large population, Belize City offers the highest level of care. The public hospitals and clinics provide very low-cost and almost free healthcare services to anyone who approaches them.

Who pays for healthcare in Belize? ›

Public Healthcare Eligibility and Costs

There is only one type of public insurance scheme in this country, which is through the Social Security Board (SSB). Anyone who lives and works in Belize is automatically eligible to access public healthcare, as long as they make the required contributions to the scheme.

How is healthcare financed in Belize? ›

It is currently financed with government revenues through the Ministry of Health (MoH) and its governance falls under the Social Security Board (SSB). The scope of the scheme was limited to the poorest regions in Belize city, progressively extended to the southern region and some districts in the north of Belize.

What are five big issues facing Belize? ›

Some of the most pressing issues that currently challenge Belize institutions include illegal harvesting of flora and fauna, illegal hunting, illegal logging, looting of the extensive cave system, and the increase in the introduction of invasive species.

What are the main problems in Belize? ›

Government corruption is a concern, as is the high rate of violent crime. Authorities have been slow to address persistent problems of police brutality and human trafficking within the country's borders.

What is the number 1 health issue? ›

The No. 1 health condition in the U.S. is heart disease. It is one of the leading causes of death, comprising more than a quarter of all deaths annually. It is estimated that someone has a heart attack in the U.S. every 43 seconds.

Is Medicare accepted in Belize? ›

Expats who have Medicare in the U.S. or coverage under the Canadian healthcare system typically pay out-of-pocket for routine care in Belize and then fly north for surgery or any long-term, involved medical treatment.

How much is Belize health insurance? ›

Starting February 15, 2022 the Belize Government has manadated that all foreign travellers arriving into Belize must purchase a travel insurance policy for any covid related expenses. The cost for this policy is $18 USD per traveller (including adults & children), and can be purchased in advance of travel.

Can you buy health insurance in Belize? ›

It is recommended that travelers purchase the Belize Travel Health Insurance prior to their travel to Belize. However, purchases can be made upon arrival at the Philip Goldson International Airport or at Belize's land borders.

What can Belize do to improve its health system? ›

The approach includes six key pillars of healthcare: governance and leadership, service delivery, financing, human resource in health, informational systems and medicines and technology. The strategic plan includes a vast range of healthcare subcategories so that it can address healthcare inequity from multiple fronts.

Can US citizens live in Belize? ›

Many U.S. citizens reside in Belize, part-time or even as their primary home. The U.S. Embassy is not expert in Belize immigration or residency requirements, and we recommend you call the Department of Immigration and Nationality at 011-501-822-3860/822-0739 or email to with specific questions.

Why is Belize important to the United States? ›

U.S.-Belize Relations

An economically prosperous, democratic, and secure Belize is important to U.S. interests in the region. The United States and Belize are working as partners to strengthen border security and address transnational crime. The two countries have mutual legal assistance treaties with each other.

What human rights are being violated in Belize? ›

By Aaron Humes: The U.S. State Department concludes in its annual report on human rights issues in Belize that Belize continues to deal with “significant human rights issues,” including “inhumane treatment by security and prison officers; widespread and serious corruption by government officials; trafficking in persons ...

How safe is Belize? ›

Exercise increased caution in Belize due to crime. Some areas have increased risk. Please read the entire Travel Advisory. Country Summary: Violent crime – such as sexual assault, home invasions, armed robberies, and murder – are common even during daylight hours and in tourist areas.

Is Retiring in Belize a good idea? ›

Should You Retire in Belize? Overall, Belize offers low-cost living expenses, as well as flexible visa options for potential foreign retirees. In addition, the country's national language is English, so that may ease the moving process for English-speaking Americans.

Is Belize still a good place to retire? ›

The average income in Belize is lower than neighboring Caribbean countries like the Bahamas, but the laid-back approach to life, combined with lower costs, makes it an excellent place to retire. When it comes to getting a sense for the overall costs of retiring in Belize, Investopedia estimate around $1,700 per month.

What country has the poorest health care? ›

Mali. Health in Mali, one of the world's poorest nations, is greatly affected by poverty, malnutrition, and inadequate hygiene and sanitation. Mali's health and development indicators rank among the worst in the world.

What country has the lowest health care? ›

1/ Costa Rica. Costa Rica has the lowest number of hospitals compared to its population, with only 8.7 for every million people.

What state is the healthiest to live in? ›

“Due to a combination of a dozen health-related factors, California is the number one healthiest state in 2022,” according to the study.

Is the United States a healthy country? ›

Despite this, the U.S. suffers the highest-burden for chronic diseases and two times higher obesity rates than the OECD average. America also showcases hospitalizations at the highest number from preventable diseases and the highest rate of avoidable deaths.

What are the 3 biggest health problems? ›

Top health concerns

As for diseases, here are the most frequently mentioned concerns: obesity: 15% cancer: 14% diabetes: 2%

Can I use my US cell phone in Belize? ›

Yes, and if your phone is unlocked you can also buy a local SIM card for $10USD.

Can I collect Social Security and live in Belize? ›

Absolutely! And the process is easy to set up. Once you're residing in Belize, you'll simply need to arrange for your payments from the Social Security Administration to be directed to a Belize bank account.

Can you live in Belize on Social Security? ›

As long as you are eligible for Social Security and have at least $2,000 per month in income, you can enjoy a comfortable retirement in the warm, friendly and beautiful towns and beaches of Belize.

Do tourists need insurance while in Belize? ›

If you have a trip planned, you may be wondering "do I need travel insurance for Belize?" While travel insurance is not a requirement for entry to Belize, we recommend purchasing a plan to protect against the unexpected. More and more countries are requiring coverage due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How much should I pay for health insurance? ›

Minimum health insurance coverage

A good rule of thumb is to have coverage that's about 50% of your annual income. So, if you earn Rs. 20 lakhs, a Rs. 10 lakhs health insurance policy may be the right choice for you.

Can a non US citizen buy health insurance? ›

If you are not a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an alien lawfully present in the U.S., you are not eligible to buy a plan on the health insurance Marketplace. However, you can shop for health insurance outside of the Marketplace in the non-group market.

Can you buy health with money? ›

Money Can't Buy Health (Or Happiness), But It Can Help - The Rockefeller Foundation.

Is there good cell service in Belize? ›

Belize cellular phone and Internet access rates are the highest in Central America. Belize is well served by cellular service that covers most of the country and certain marine areas close to major coastal population centers.

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