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Costa Rica reports one the highest ratios of doctors and nurses per person in the Central American region

Staff Writer

The quality, accessibility and affordability of healthcare is a main concern for the average adult person. It has been a long time debate on which system is more efficient and how it should be structured in order to provide coverage for everyone while at the same time maintaining the quality of the service. Studies show that more than 40,000 Americans travel yearly to Costa Rica searching for medical and dental services. These “medical tourists” have discovered that this little Central American country has top quality healthcare available at a much lower cost.

Costa Rica reports one the highest ratios of doctors and nurses per person in the Central American region, as well as hospital bed per person ratios. Expats who live in Costa Rica can make the most out of this benefit every day of the year, by paying a fraction of what they did in their home country for consults, visits, surgeries, prescriptions, and any other care they need.

Residents of Costa Rica are allowed to access any medical system, public or private. First is the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), known as Caja for short. This is comprehensive healthcare, managed and provided by the government. It is available to legal residents and citizens, and also to foreigners with a Pensionado visa. The CAJA system is an excellent and necessary alternative specially in emergency events or conditions that require major surgery or long term treatments that, if done privately, would cost an astounding amount of money. The best doctors in the country and the best equipment are available in Caja’s public hospitals. As part of Caja, you pay a monthly fee based on the income you reported on your residence application, 6% to 12%. After you pay your monthly fee, all your care is covered and it also covers the care of a dependant spouse. It is safe to note that this system emphasizes on preventative care.

There is also an extensive private medical system in Costa Rica, with doctors, clinics, and hospitals throughout the country. You can pay cash to see private doctors, but it’s still inexpensive. A doctor’s visit is $50; you’ll pay $80 to $100 to see a specialist. An ultrasound will run you about $75. And even major surgeries are more affordable, about half to a quarter of the cost compared to the U.S. You can also use insurance whether it is national or international. Most private hospitals have insurance departments to help you arrange financial matters.

Often expats mix and match private and public medical care. They might see a private doctor and pay cash and then have their prescription filled in the Caja pharmacy for free. Or if a procedure is taking too long to schedule at a public clinic, they might go private. Evidently, it is quite useful to have access to both systems, and being able to employ public and private services to your convenience.

For these and many more reasons Costa Rica scored 2nd in the healthcare category of 2017’s International Living Global Retirement Index which included the four countries with the best healthcare in the world, considering both cost and quality on different medical procedures.

Looking to save some money on your healthcare and live in paradise at the same time? Contact your Remax agent!