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Costa Rica Health Insurance

Living or working in Costa Rica? Get locally compliant medical insurance that meets your needs and budget through Pacific Prime.

Costa Rica Health Insurance

Best International Health Insurance in Costa Rica for Expats

Costa Rica, a tropical paradise in Central America, has become a popular destination for expats seeking an exciting and fulfilling lifestyle. With its breathtaking natural beauty, welcoming culture, and numerous benefits, it's no wonder why many choose to call Costa Rica home.

Costa Rica boasts a stable political environment, excellent healthcare facilities, and a strong commitment to education, making it an attractive option for families and retirees alike. What’s more, Costa Rica's stance on environmental conservation and sustainability aligns with the values of many expats seeking a greener lifestyle.

From pristine beaches and lush rainforests to breathtaking volcanoes and diverse wildlife, Costa Rica is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. The Costa Ricans, commonly called "ticos", along with the country’s peaceful and laid-back atmosphere contribute to the sense of community that expats find endearing.

Ultimate Overview of Healthcare in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a healthcare system that provides universal coverage to its citizens and permanent residents. The country is known for its high life expectancy and has been ranked among the top countries in the world for its healthcare system. The following table provides a handy summary of various aspects of public and private healthcare in Costa Rica:


Public Healthcare

Private Healthcare

Access and availability

Generally available to citizens and residents

Available to those who have private insurance


Highly affordable or free for citizens and residents

Steeper cost, including insurance premiums and fees

Facilities and services

Adequate facilities and services provided

Advanced facilities and specialized services offered

Wait times

Longer wait times except for medical emergencies

Shorter wait times and quicker access to services

Specialist care

Limited availability

Access to a broad range of specialists and experts


Comprehensive coverage for necessary services

More coverage options and additional services


Primarily in Spanish with some English-speaking employees

English-speaking employees are more readily available

Quality of care

Generally commendable

Generally high-quality and more personalized

Number of patients

More patients leading to longer wait times

Fewer patients and shorter wait times

Insurance requirement

Not required, but citizens finance through taxes

Private insurance required to access services; insurance plans are available through the government-backed company–INS, and monthly premiums typically are between USD $60 and $250 per person

Focus on preventive care

Stresses preventive care and public health programs

Offers preventive care programs along with treatments

What Are the Health Insurance Options for Expats in Costa Rica?

The three main health insurance options for expats in Costa Rica are expat health insurance, international health insurance, and travel medical insurance.

Expat Health Insurance

Expat health insurance plans are specifically designed for individuals living abroad. These plans offer coverage for various medical services and treatments, including doctor consultations, hospitalizations, surgeries, prescription medications, and emergency medical evacuation.

International Health Insurance

International health insurance plans are suitable for expats who require coverage not only in Costa Rica but also in their home country and other countries around the world. These plans offer comprehensive medical coverage, including hospitalization, outpatient care, prescription drugs, and preventive services.

The downside is that these plans typically cost more than expat health insurance plans.

Travel Medical Insurance

Travel medical insurance is a short-term insurance option suitable for expats visiting Costa Rica or those who are not permanently residing in the country. These plans provide coverage for emergency medical expenses, including hospitalization, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation. Travel medical insurance plans typically have limited coverage duration.

The Best Health Insurance in Costa Rica for Expats

To help you navigate the vast array of health insurance options available in Costa Rica, we will make some recommendations in what follows. However, the insurance market is always evolving, and insurers introduce newer and improved plans all the time. Thus, it's essential to stay tuned.

Top-level International Benefits Provider: Allianz Care

Allianz Care offers international health insurance plans designed for individuals who spend long periods overseas. Highlights of their international health insurance include:

  • Comprehensive coverage: Allianz Care provides coverage not only for emergency treatment but also for diagnosis and post-treatment care.

  • Wide range of solutions: Allianz Care offers a range of solutions with differing levels of coverage to suit the specific needs of individuals, whether they are students, professionals, nomads, families, or those planning to start a family.

  • Global network: Allianz Care has a network of over 1.9 million quality medical providers worldwide. They settle medical bills directly with the providers for most in-patient treatments, ensuring convenience for their policyholders.

  • Support and services: Allianz Care offers digital and in-person support available around the clock. Their services include health and wellness tools, support for mental and emotional well-being, global telehealth services, monthly live webinars by health experts, and a 24/7 helpline in multiple languages.

  • Flexibility and customization: Allianz Care allows individuals to choose what they want to be covered for and the extent of coverage based on their needs and budget. They offer family-friendly solutions with specific benefits for children, such as well-child tests and vaccinations.

  • Efficiency: Fully completed medical claims are processed within 48 hours, ensuring quick and efficient service for policyholders.

  • Financial strength and expertise: Allianz Care is a financially strong company with an A+ Superior rating from A.M. Best. They are recognized as the number one insurance brand by Interbrand in 2022. With their worldwide expertise, they provide comprehensive coverage and support for individuals living or traveling abroad.

Best Health Insurance in Costa Rica for US Citizens: Cigna and Geoblue

Cigna offers international health insurance plans that provide coverage for US citizens living in Costa Rica. These plans are designed to meet the specific healthcare needs of expats and ensure access to quality medical care. Highlights include:

  • Wide network: Cigna provides a wide network of healthcare providers in Costa Rica, ensuring that policyholders have access to medical services throughout the country.

  • Flexibility: Cigna offers flexible plans that can be tailored to individual needs, allowing individuals to choose a plan that suits their specific requirements and budget.

  • Comprehensive benefits: The international health insurance plans from Cigna typically offer comprehensive benefits, including coverage for hospitalization, doctor visits, prescription medications, emergency medical evacuation, and more. These benefits ensure that policyholders receive the necessary medical care when needed.

  • 24/7 support: Cigna provides 24/7 support for both physical and mental health. This includes assistance for mental health concerns, as living away from home can sometimes lead to feelings of homesickness or emotional distress.

  • Additional options: Cigna offers additional options such as International Vision & Dental packages that can be added to the health insurance plan for coverage of vision and dental care.

  • Customer care: Cigna has a dedicated customer care team that can be contacted for assistance and guidance regarding medical treatment and healthcare services.

GeoBlue similarly offers international health insurance plans for US citizens traveling or residing abroad, including in Costa Rica. Here are the highlights of GeoBlue's international health insurance plans:

  • Travel medical plans: GeoBlue provides travel medical insurance plans designed to cover short-term trips. These plans offer comprehensive medical coverage during your travel and include benefits such as doctor and hospital visits, prescription medications, emergency medical evacuations, and more.

  • International medical insurance plans: GeoBlue offers international medical insurance plans for individuals who are living or working abroad for an extended period. These plans provide comprehensive coverage for medical expenses, including hospitalizations, surgeries, preventive services, maternity benefits, and more.

  • Multiple trip plans: GeoBlue offers insurance plans for individuals who frequently travel internationally. These plans cover multiple trips throughout the year and provide medical coverage for each trip.

  • Optional U.S. coverage: GeoBlue allows you to include or exclude U.S. coverage based on your needs. If you select U.S. coverage, your insurance plan will provide benefits for medical emergencies that occur within the United States.

  • Primary health insurance: To be eligible for GeoBlue's multi-trip plans, you must be enrolled in a primary health plan, which can be a group health benefit plan, an individual health benefit plan, or a governmental health plan (excluding Medicaid and V.A. health plans). Certain GeoBlue policies are filed as secondary coverage but are administered and pay covered claims upfront in a primary manner.

  • Coverage for different traveler types: GeoBlue offers plans tailored to specific traveler types, such as crew members, missionaries, students or faculty members, and individuals living or working abroad.

Most Cost-Efficient Insurance for Expats in Costa Rica: IMG and Now Health

IMG offers cost-efficient international health insurance plans for expats in Costa Rica, allowing you to customize the length and area of coverage, select from multiple deductibles, and choose different modes of payment. Highlights include:

  • Global Medical Insurance is a long-term (1+ year), annually renewable worldwide medical insurance program designed for individuals and families.

  • The program provides different underwriting methods, which means you may still receive medical coverage even if other companies have declined you based on your medical history.

  • IMG strives to keep insurance affordable and offers a Medical Concierge program that helps save on out-of-pocket medical expenses.

  • Choosing treatment from select medical facilities outside the U.S. can result in a cash incentive and 50% waiver of the deductible.

  • The plan offers long-term coverage with deductible options ranging from USD $100 to $25,000 and maximum limit options from USD $1,000,000 to $8,000,000.

  • It is suitable for visitors, immigrants, expats, and global citizens.

  • The plan is available to individuals and families of all nationalities, with eligibility restrictions for non-U.S. citizens residing in the U.S.

  • Coverage is available from 14 days old up to 74 years old, with coverage ending at age 75.

  • Lifetime coverage is available if enrolled by the 65th birthday and maintained continuously until age 75.

  • The enrollment process is simple, with an online application for individuals or families. Separate applications are required for dependents aged 19 and older.

  • There is a 15-day free look period after acceptance into the plan, allowing for a review of coverage. If unsatisfied, a written request for cancellation and full refund of the premium can be submitted.

Now Health International offers cost-efficient international health insurance plans for expats in Costa Rica under their flagship product called WorldCare. WorldCare offers comprehensive coverage with different levels of cover to suit various lifestyles. Here are the highlights of these plans:

WorldCare Essential

This is the lowest-priced plan designed to cover high costs associated with large medical events. It covers in-patient and day-patient treatment worldwide, with the option to add a small amount of out-patient treatment for an additional cost.

WorldCare Advance

This plan covers in-patient, day-patient, and out-patient treatment, including GP and specialist appointments, physiotherapy, and alternative therapies. It also offers options for annual deductibles, out-patient per visit excess, and co-insurance to keep premiums low.

WorldCare Excel

This plan provides coverage for in-patient, out-patient, and day-patient treatment at higher benefit levels than WorldCare Advance. It includes routine and complex dental care after a nine-month waiting period.

WorldCare Apex

This is the most comprehensive plan with very high benefit limits. It covers in-patient, day-patient, and out-patient treatment at higher levels than WorldCare Excel. It also includes routine maternity care after a 12-month waiting period.

All plans have a wide range of annual deductibles for in-patient and day-patient treatment, as well as options for out-patient charges, co-insurance, and coverage for USA elective treatment. They also provide extended evacuation and repatriation services.

Now Health International offers additional support services to enhance the overall health and well-being of their members. These services include:

  • A Second Medical Opinion service to provide reassurance and guidance on diagnosis and treatment options

  • A Global Concierge Service to assist with overseas treatment arrangements

  • An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for SME clients

  • A Member Assistance Program (Individuals) for broader health and wellness support

Members can manage their plans online through the Now Health International website and smartphone app. They can access plan documents, submit and track claims, and find doctors worldwide.

Now Health International aims to process eligible claims within five working days, pre-authorize claims for day- or in-patient treatment within five working days, and respond to inquiries within one working day. What’s more, they provide 24/7 availability for customer support via telephone, online chat, and WhatsApp.

How Much Does Health Insurance for Expats in Costa Rica Cost?

The specific cost of health insurance can vary based on factors such as age, coverage options, and pre-existing conditions. The following is a general overview of the cost of health insurance for expats in Costa Rica and ways to lower insurance premiums.

Cost of Public Health Insurance

On average, expats can expect to pay between 7-11% of their monthly income towards public health insurance, known as the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS).

Cost of Private Health Insurance

Private health insurance plans are often chosen in addition to public coverage. The average cost for private health insurance through the government-backed Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) ranges from USD $60-250 per month per head.

Cost of International Health Insurance

From our Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2023, the average annual premium of international private medical insurance in Costa Rica was USD $4,824 for individuals, and USD $13,328 for families.

What You Can Do to Save on Health Insurance Premiums

As we’ve just seen, health insurance can be expensive. Thankfully, there are several ways to lower health insurance premiums for expats in Costa Rica.

Evaluate Coverage Options

Assess your healthcare needs and choose a coverage plan that aligns with your requirements. Opting for a plan with basic coverage rather than comprehensive coverage can help reduce premiums.

Deductibles and Copayments

Consider choosing a plan with higher deductibles and copayments. By accepting a greater share of the costs at the time of service, you can lower your monthly premiums.

Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by practicing regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and avoiding unhealthy habits can contribute to lower insurance premiums. Some insurance providers offer discounts or incentives for policyholders who demonstrate healthy behaviors.

Shop Around

Compare different insurance providers and their offerings to find the most competitive rates. It's important to consider the reputation and reliability of the insurer along with the cost.

Group Insurance

If you are part of an organization or employer, inquire about group insurance plans. Group plans often provide better rates due to the larger pool of insured individuals.

Adjust Coverage Period

If you have a fixed duration of stay in Costa Rica, consider adjusting your coverage period accordingly. Shorter coverage periods may result in lower premiums.

Seek Expert Advice

Consult with insurance brokers or professionals specializing in expat health insurance. They can provide guidance on available options and help find the most suitable and cost-effective plan for your needs.

What is the Cost of Treatment at Hospitals in Costa Rica for Foreigners?

In recent years, Costa Rica has become a top destination for medical tourism. Beside the modern facilities and high-quality care, cost savings are another major reason for this trend. The table below compares the costs of some common procedures in Costa Rica to those in the United States (with 2019 as reference year).


Typical Cost in the U.S. (USD)

Typical Cost in Costa Rica (USD)

Cost Saving

Heart bypass








Knee replacement




Dental implant




Gastric bypass




Face lift








Lasik (both eyes)




Cataract surgery (per eye)




Source: Medical Tourism Association – Medical Tourism Destinations & Costs, 2019

What to Consider when Securing Health Insurance for Expats in Costa Rica

When choosing a health insurance option for expats in Costa Rica, it's important to consider a number of factors.


Evaluate the coverage provided by the insurance plan, including inpatient and outpatient services, prescription drugs, maternity care, emergency care, mental health, and preventive services.

Network of Providers

Check if the insurance plan has a wide network of hospitals, clinics, and doctors in Costa Rica and whether it offers access to international healthcare providers.

Availability of Direct Billing

If direct billing is available, you will not have to worry about paying the medical bills out-of-pocket and subsequently applying for reimbursement from the insurer. This will make a world of difference when you want to focus on your recovery instead.

Also, pay attention to the network where direct billing is available, and make sure your preferred service providers are in the list.


Consider the flexibility of the insurance plan in terms of coverage limits, deductibles, and options, so that you can tailor the plan to your specific needs.


Compare the premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and overall cost of the insurance plans to find a good balance between affordability and comprehensiveness.

Additional Benefits

Look for additional benefits such as emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, and 24/7 customer support to ensure comprehensive coverage and sufficient support during medical emergencies.

Contact Pacific Prime Latin America Today

Whether it's expat health insurance or international health insurance, it's vital to secure a plan that fulfills your family’s needs. Even if you are only visiting Costa Rica, you should secure travel insurance so you’ll get the financial help you need should something happen on your trip.

If you feel it’s going to take some time to digest the information we’ve presented, you’re not alone. Relocating to another country is a major undertaking, and with so many important things to arrange for, it’s only human to feel a little overwhelmed at times.

But fret not, because we’re here to help! With 20+ years of experience in insurance, Pacific Prime Latin America is unsurpassed in its capacity to tailor a solution that meets your needs while fitting your budget. What’s more, you can have our impartial advice and support at no extra cost compared to going straight to an insurer.

So contact us for a quote or a FREE, no-obligation plan comparison today!