Health insurance in Costa Rica
Situated between the Central American nations of Panama and Nicaragua, Costa Rica was first explored by Spaniards in the 16th century and became fully independent in 1838. Many expats have chosen to relocate to Costa Rica in recent years due to more business opportunities, jobs, and wealth. With its friendly locals, stable political environment, stunning scenery, and comfortable pace, tourists, expats, and retirees alike are drawn to Costa Rica.
Whether you’re traveling or moving to Costa Rica, you’ll want to know about the country’s healthcare system and healthcare for expats, as well as local health risks. Keep reading for an informative summary of Costa Rica healthcare for expats and insurance options or click the button below to get a no-obligation free quote now.
Overview of healthcare in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has a public and private healthcare system. Let’s look at the differences between the two.
Commonly referred to as the “Caja”, Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) is Costa Rica’s universal healthcare system. This system provides full coverage for all medical procedures and prescription medications via the public hospital and clinic system to the country’s citizens, permanent residents, and visitors for a nominal monthly fee calculated according to their income.
Unlike many other public healthcare sectors around the world, Costa Rica’s is exceptional. Note that those applying for residency must pay into the Caja during the immigration application process.
Private medical facilities in Costa Rica give you access to English-speaking doctors who have received training abroad (typically in the US, Canada, or Europe). To access private healthcare, you can choose between the government-backed National Insurance Institute (I.N.S.) or other private health insurance of your choice. For example, international health insurance offers coverage no matter where you are in the world.
Costa Rica health-related travel advice
There are around 30 Caja hospitals and 250 clinics in Costa Rica. While most of the buildings appear old and in need of repair, the quality of medical staff is often above average. Most expats with health insurance in Costa Rica go to one of the following private hospitals:
- CIMA hospital in Escazu
- Clinica Biblica in San Jose
- Clinica Catolica in San Jose-Guadalupe
When receiving medical care, note that hospitals and private doctors expect payment upfront - even if you have Costa Rica health insurance. For this reason, many expats go to Mexico or Panama for costly and lengthy medical procedures instead. However, it’s worth noting that surgical procedures cost just a fraction of what you’d pay in the US. Take a heart bypass, for example, which costs just one-third to one-fifth of what it does in the states.
How to find the best expatriate health insurance in Costa Rica
Just like any country in the world, Costa Rica’s healthcare system has its own set of problems. The best way to avoid having to deal with such problems and get the medical care you deserve is by securing a comprehensive health insurance plan. Whether you choose travel insurance in Costa Rica, international insurance, or anything in between, private medical insurance allows you to choose the doctor or facility so you can always get the highest standard of care possible.
What’s more, it’s advisable to ensure health insurance for foreigners in Costa Rica comes with an emergency evacuation feature. That way, you don’t have to worry about additional costs if you have to be transported back home for further treatment. Our expert insurance advisors are ready to help you find the policy that best suits your needs and budget, as well as give you access to our value-added services such as impartial insurance advice, form filing assistance, and more.
Contact us for a free consultation today! Or click the button below to get a no-obligation free quote now.