The health care system in Costa Rica is affordable and high quality when comparing it to the one in the USA and some European countries. According to Business Insider Costa Rica is ranked as #13 in a worldwide health system ranking, “Costa Rica has the best health services in Latin America, and its healthy life expectancy is 71.2 years”. There are two modalities of health care in Costa Rica: private and public.
The public health system of our country is called Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) popularly known as the Caja. The government-sponsored Caja has the goal of providing low-cost healthcare to the Costa Ricans and legal citizens. Expats living in the country as retirees can be eligible to join this system for a small monthly fee based on their income. With this insurance, you will be able to get free treatments, check-ups, and major surgeries with top qualified doctors. The Caja offers excellent quality since it’s constantly upgrading technologies and their personnel, thus still for a lower cost than in the USA. This system was introduced in 1941, and it has been through several reforms that make it more efficient. La Caja counts with more than 30 hospitals and 1000 Ebais which are clinics made up of at least one doctor, a nurse, and a first aid assistant.
Private healthcare in Costa Rica is also known as one of the cheapest and top quality in Latin America. Nevertheless, this system will surely be more expensive than Caja. There are three famous hospitals that have been expanding throughout the country with high quality, first class, and modern services/equipment: CIMA Hospital, Clinica Biblica and Hospital La Catolica. The CIMA Hospital has its main venue in Escazu, close to an area populated with foreign and they recently opened its second venue in Liberia Guanacaste, located in the north Pacific, Liberia is a rapidly growing region close to some of the most famous beach towns where many expats choose to relocate.
The Clinica Biblica also inaugurated their new headquarters located in Santa Ana, closer to Escazu offering more services for expat communities in the west area of San Jose. The private sector has also opened a door to medical tourism, with its top-notch quality service and lower costs than in other countries, Costa Rica has become a paradise for those needing medical assistance. Doctors in the private sector charge between $60 – $70 for a visit.
Many foreigns chose to mix both types of healthcare systems. If the Caja is saturated, or you are looking for a second opinion, you can opt for a private visit and then share the documents with the Caja doctor. Thus, many of the doctors and dentists that operate with government system also have their own offices to operate in the private sector as well.