I’m Planning a Vacation to Costa Rica, What’s the Health Care Delivery System Like There?
This is from an article written by Jo Stuart for the daily English language online newspaper “AM Costa Rica”. Jo, as she is called by her friends, is a long time resident of Costa Rica and here she talks about her experience with the government sponsored universal health care insurance offered to everyone.
She writes “While the health care and medical insurance debate rages in the United States, most of the rest of the civilized world has long ago found it’s own solution. Costa Rica is among them. It has a government sponsored universal health care insurance available to all for a fee each month. This fee is determined by the income a person makes. In other words a person pays according to his means. ”
In addition, private health care insurance is available from many different companies. One of the biggest sellers of this private health insurance is the Instituto National de Seguros, a government sponsored program known at the INS.
Jo explains that when she joined the government universal health care system she was assigned a clinic and a hospital in the area where she lives. If a doctor of a particular speciality is not at this hospital and she needs to be seen by him, then she will be given permission to go to a different clinic or hospital. This insurance does not disallow anyone for a preexisting condition.
Jo applied for a gold card (65 or older) With this card you get certain privileges such as riding public buses free. Also, with this gold card you can go to the front of the line in the public banks.
Also at the health clinics this card will allow you to go to a special window where you do not have to wait for a long period of time.
The universal health insurance also covers dentist but you have to go to a dentist who works with this insurance. And eye care is covered, again you have to go were the insurance is accepted.
On the other hand, private health care is reasonable. Much cheaper than the US and on the whole very good. Two private hospitals Cima and Clinica Biblica are very popular with the English speaking people. One can purchase a health insurance policy which will send them to one of these two hospitals.
The Costa Ricans differ in their opinion about the government run universal health care. Some talk about long waits and standing in long lines. But, Jo says that over the years she has received as good a care as she did while living in the US at a fraction of the cost. She states that she had her pacemaker replaced (this pacemaker was originally put in when she lived in the United States). Jo said that she was very pleased with the doctors and the hospital in Costa Rica where her pacemaker was replaced.
People who move to Costa Rica and take residency will now have to enroll in this government universal health care system, whether you choose to use it or not. It is my understanding that you will not have a choice. Although I have been told that the monthly premium is not a great deal of money.
You can read more of Jo Stuart’s interesting articles by googling AM Costa Rica. Her column is called “Living in Costa Rica”…..where the living is good.
Here at costaricalearn.com we would love to share your experience with health care in Costa Rica, just click on comments or reply at the end of this article.