Universal health care is available to all Costa Rican citizens and residents. Some report Costa Rican health care to be among the best in Latin America, along with Panama. Costa Rica is making strides to improve and upgrade both private and public health care systems. In charge of most of the nation’s public health sector is the Costa Rican Department of Social Security. Costa Rican pharmacists can often diagnose minor and common ailments and many pharmaceutical drugs can be obtained without the need of a prescription.
Here, Costa Ricans are proud of their health care system. The life expectancy of the average Costa Rican is 79.6 years for men and 79.8 years for women. An average male of 80 years has a life expectancy of 8 more years, putting Costa Rica in the first place in the world for life expectancy beyond this age. Women are expected to live even longer than men, at an average of 9.5 years.
The WHO (World Healthcare Organization) ranked Costa Rica 36th on “Overall Health System Performance”. That’s one rank above The United States, sitting in place 37th.
Public Health Care
Public Health Care in Costa Rica is managed by the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social or Costa Rican Department of Social Security. It is available nationwide to citizens and legal residents. Approximate costs to affiliate to Social Security can roam around 11% and 15% of your income, and people below age 55 have to pay a mandatory pension payment. You can join rather easily through a service provided by the ARCR (the Association of Residents of Costa Rica).
There are ten major public hospitals in Costa Rica, 4 being in San José. Lesser medical care and check-ups are done at small clinics known as EBAIS (Equipos Básicos de Atención Integral en Salud), in all neighborhoods and towns.
It’s good to have in mind that wait times in Social Security facilities are normally long because of the good quality and low cost of procedures and check-ups.
Private Health Care
Private health care in Costa Rica is top-notch, meeting, and even surpassing American standards. Insurance plans are obtainable through the INS (Instituto
Nacional de Seguros). Private medical insurance comes around $70-$250 depending on the subject. Some medical exams, prescription drugs, and hospitalization are covered up to 80%. Aesthetics and Surgeons come covered full-cost.
Costa Rica’s CIMA Medical Center in Escazu (a suburb of San Jose) is a medical facility superior to anything in the U.S. In the main lobby is an office specifically for handling services for U.S. veterans. The medical center’s headquarters are in Dallas, Texas, and it is connected with Baylor Hospital in that city. Search the web for ‘CIMA Medical Center, Escazu,’ and you’ll find a treasure trove of information and photographs.
The second most popular destination for US tourists in Latin America is also their second for international medical care. And no wonder why. A long history of relationships between Costa Ricans and Americans has also nurtured health care development. The World Health Organization has ranked Costa Rica as one of the top three healthcare systems in Latin America. With now Two JCI-accredited hospitals and many private AAAASF and AAAHC-accredited clinics around, Costa Rica makes an attractive option for the budget-conscious patient.
Also, Costa Rica is a world-class destination for ecotourism. That means mesmerizing beaches, national parks, cloud forests, and volcanoes are all at reach, and only an hour away from their capital, San José! Throw all that in, and you’ve got the whole medical tourist package.
So, besides to adventure-seekers and outdoors-enthusiasts, Costa Rica is now the in destination for travelers with health agendas, especially dental and cosmetic procedures. Pick up any copy of the country’s English-language newspaper, The Tico Times. You’ll find a couple of dozen ads for Costa Rican dentists, cosmetic surgeons, even general surgeons.
The appeal is straightforward. The costs for everything from facelifts to dental implants…from botox to hormone therapy to reverse effects of aging can be one-half and less the cost for comparable procedures in the States.
Have your surgery…then recover and recuperate in a beautiful mountain setting…
How To Get Treatment In Costa Rica As An Expat
For expats who are traveling through Costa Rica, but haven’t decided to make it a permanent home, travel insurance is accepted in Costa Rica as of 2009. International health insurance is an excellent choice that provides you many of the benefits and options that you are used to. Read more about international health insurance here.
If you have your temporary or permanent residency you qualify for the public healthcare run by Caja. If you don’t have residency, you can get a private insurance plan. There are a number of expat-friendly insurance companies throughout the country that offer comprehensive plans. Many expats in Costa Rica opt to use a combination of public and private health insurance and use the private insurance to supplement the costs that aren’t covered by the public plan.
If you are retired military Tricare Overseas does cover doctors, hospitals and clinics in San Jose. Of course, you should always check with the facility before making appointments. Click here to find out more about Tricare Latin America coverage.