Healthcare In Costa Rica: one of the most medically advanced countries in the Americas.Date created 14.05.2019 09:04:12
Costa Rica has a well-earned reputation of being one of the most medically advanced countries in the Americas. The facilities are modern and the bilingual doctors are mostly North American or European trained, and it’s all very affordable, due, in large part, to the fact that this is not a lawsuit happy society leaving medical facilities unfettered with crippling insurance premiums drive up costs in North America. All that makes Costa Rica one of the most popular destinations in the Americas for medical tourism for everything from dental care to ocular laser surgery to major cosmetic surgery and life extension treatments. Costa Rica has one of the best low-cost medical care systems in the world, when preventive and curative medicines are considered as agreed on upon by International medical authorities. And the United Nations consistently ranks Costa Rica’s public health system as top 20 in the world, and the best in Latin America, a source of great national pride. Over 90% of the residents of Costa Rica are covered by the very affordable Social Security System and affordable, cradle-to-grave health care system. These factors contribute greatly to the claim (and my personal observation) that Costa Ricans are among the happiest and healthiest people on earth. This is also why many North American retirees are attracted to Costa Rica where the infant mortality rate is less than that in the United States and on par with any industrialized country in the world. Costa Ricans are consistently ranked in the top 3 world-wide in life expectancy. Hospitals in Costa Rica have the latest technology, best equipment, world renown and well trained doctors and excellence labs, dispelling the 3rd world perception that still lingers from decades past. And the fact that most surgical procedures cost only a fraction of what they do in the United States, this provides the needed security to retirees with pre-existing conditions. Medical Tourism 15% of all international visitors take adavntage of Costa Rica's top rated medical and dental care. Common are major surgery procedures, dental care and cosmetic surgery, buoyed by the fact that cost of the procedure, the recovery, and travel expenses is still less than the cost of the procedure only at home. Where To Get Medical Care in Costa Rica The CIMA hospital in Escazu, Costa Rica The moniker of "public medical facilities" usually strikes fear in the heart of the typical North American. I was one of them. But the quality of health care in public medical facilities in Costa Rica is excellent. One the main distinctions is whether it’s a public facility or private healthcare facility as it relates to the affordable health care plans offered. Most Costa Ricans opt for more affordable public facilities, but foreigners find private clinics very reasonably priced compared to similar institutions back home. Generally speaking, you have to deal with bureaucracy, and long lines at the public medical facilities, but the quality of health care is still very good. With private clinics and hospitals in Costa Rica, you’ll get quicker service and more privacy for a premium, but still much less than anywhere else. There are the most common places to get medical attention in Costa Rica: 1. Doctor's Private Office You get your check ups and simple procedures done right in your doctor’s office at a cost anywhere from $40 to $85 depending on the doctor and procedure, and will be covered 100% under the CAJA Public Insurance plan. Visits are covered under the INS Private Insurance plan, but with a reasonable deductible. 2. Clinics or Clinicas Clinicas are similar to ’walk-in clinics’ in North America. There you’ll find inpatient medical-surgical facilities, emergency services, doctor’s offices, radiology, laboratories, outpatient services and even a pharmacy. Fees vary depending on the procedure being performed, but rest assured, they’re far cheaper than you're use to. 3. Private Hospitals First-rate medical care is available at any of San Jose’s 3 largest private hospitals. The cost for a private hospital stay will be under a $100 a day, plus the doctor’s fee, and includes a private room with bathroom and TV and often, an extra bed or sofa for a relative or care taker to spend the night if needed. Example 1: the total cost, including the surgeon’s fee, for an appendectomy performed at the Clinica Biblica Hospital in San Jose, is under $1,000. The INS (private) insurance plan covered 86% of that invoice, leaving a deductible payment of only $140. Example 2: An American who spent a 2 days in the private Clinica Catolica hospital said, “the attention was first-class and the food was as good as home cooking”… wow! His invoice came to less than $1,000 which is less than half of what he would pay for the same care in the States. 4. Pharmacy Pharmacists are considered a ’doctor-lite’ here in Costa Rica, and most residents have a long-standing, first-name-basis relationship with them. Each pharmacy has a graduate pharmacologist on staff who are trained to decipher symptoms, identify the ailment and suggest an over-the-counter medication for most common illnesses. Often, symptoms are described over the phone, and only an hour later, your medication is delivered to your door via messenger. This goes far past the insurance mandated boundaries that North American pharmacies must abide by, and because this is not a ’lawyer and law suit’ driven country, this is widely practiced and accepted. Payment: It’s important to know that any foreign medical insurance is NOT accepted in Costa Rica, though you may be eligible for reimbursement from your carrier if your policy covers that. So it’s always wise to give your domestic carrier a call before making your travel plans. Medical facilities all take major credit cards, money transfers can be arranged and checks will not be accepted.