Health Care & Insurance

It is safe to say that Costa Rica has some of the best hospitals and health care available in the free world! There are 3 JCI-approved hospitals in the Central Valley (San Jose) area. JCI approval is very stringent, and the hospitals that have passed can be considered the best in the world. Costa Rica is host to many people from all over the world each year who choose to take advantage of a quality medical tourism program. From hip replacements to heart surgery to dental work to tummy tucks, do some research and save a bunch of money for your efforts! Rest assured that you will be in good hands in Costa Rica! A recent news program was comparing the price for heart bypass surgery in the USA and Costa Rica. The average US price was $149,000 and the cost in Costa Rica was $24,000. One sixth the price for the same surgery and after care.

Health care costs can be up to two-thirds lower in Costa Rica as compared with the costs in the United States. Most doctors can speak English and many have been trained in the USA and Canada. House calls are even popular here and are widely available for those who are simply too sick to leave their home or do not have a means of transportation.

Costa Rica is ranked very high regarding overall life expectancy and contains one of the worlds blue zones where it is common for people to live to over 100 years of age. This should confirm the fact that you can rest assured that staying healthy has to do with the laid-back lifestyle offered here in Costa Rica, the availability of cheap fruits and veggies and the quality of health care available to everyone who lives or visits here.

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has the responsibility of providing low-cost health care services to Costa Rican citizens. They have a network of over 275 clinics and 35 hospitals throughout the country. This system has been working rather well for over 60 years and caters to the foreigner and countrymen alike. Foreigners living in Costa Rica can join by simply paying a small monthly fee or if preferred, they can buy health insurance from the Instituto de Seguro Nacional (INS), valid with over 300 affiliated doctors, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies. In 2010, the government made it mandatory for residency applicants to become members of La Caja. The price to become involved is usually less than $55 per month. At this writing, you can also purchase health insurance from private companies as well in Costa Rica. The INS is no longer a monopoly and prices can vary depending on the provider.

Many of Costa Rica’s doctors and some dentists work in the mornings for the Caja (CCSS) and then practice medicine in their own offices and clinics in the afternoons and sometimes even in the evening hours. Private health care in Costa Rica is more expensive than that offered by the same doctors and surgeons through the CCSS, but their pricing is still much lower than that of the average office visit in the United States. A private office visit in Costa Rica may cost only $40 to $75. Continued treatments for diagnosed problems will vary but will almost always be quite a bit less than that same treatment in the United States. Dental work is provided at a much lower cost than in the United States as well, again with seasoned and educated dentists doing the work. If you’re asking yourself why would you go to the doctor when they are in their office instead of at the local hospital the answer is simple… the wait time will be considerably less in the doctors office and may be worth the cost.

If visiting Costa Rica only for a short while, one also has the option of purchasing temporary “international travel insurance” from most major insurance carriers in the USA. Different programs cover every possible situation, from a chipped tooth to total heart failure while visiting abroad. If your present insurance does not cover you while outside of the US this is an excellent option to consider.