Thursday 1 June 2023

Is Costa Rica a Health Care Haven for Expats?

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Q24n (edited) – Costa Rica has a lot to offer expats. Are you looking for a low cost of living? Check. Are you looking for fabulous beaches and beautiful weather? Check. Need some cheap real estate? Check. The list can continue for days.

However, one of the biggest benefits that are not talked about often is the quality of healthcare. Expats, retirees, and business owners are realizing that they can get healthcare that is comparable to the United States at a fraction of the cost. Couple this with some of the best nurse practitioners and medical experts in the world living and working on this tropical land*, and you will begin to see that Cost Rica has an attitude about health care that is refreshing.

(*The word island was replaced with land in the above paragraph, see the comments section below for an explanation the original use of island instead of land.)

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The rising price of health care in the United States and the continuous political debates about medical care has helped Costa Rica emerge as an affordable and easily accessible health care alternative for expats from around the world.

Most of the doctors and BSN to DNP online professionals graduated from schools located in the US, Europe or Canada. They use all the latest techniques in their practices, and all of the clinics and hospitals are equipped with the same tools you would see in the UK or the States.

Two Health Care Systems

There are two different health care systems in Costa Rica. These systems work together. All of the country’s citizens and the legal residents have access to health care that is managed by the government. This system is called Caja.

Expats who are interested in moving to the island after retirement would only need to have a verified source of income totaling $1,000. This income can come from pension, disability, or Social Security. This would allow them to qualify for retiree (pensionado) residency status. After this, their spouse will be able to join their health care plan. A low fee is paid every month and it is based on income.

The Drawbacks

No health care system is perfect, and even with all of the beauty that surrounds you in Costa Rica, there are drawbacks to receiving medical care. The number one complaint is the waiting time. Even though you may have a scheduled appointment that was set by a nurse practitioner doctorate degree professional, you may still have to wait months for MRIs and other diagnostic tests. Non-emergency surgery has the same protocol.

Another drawback is the language barrier. Although most doctors and nurses speak fluent English, the administrative staff may not. This can be frustrating if you are trying to get directions to a clinic or get a follow up after a test.

Affordable Procedures

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With the drawbacks, there are some positive aspects. For example, an ultrasound generally costs around $70, while in the United States it can cost five times that amount. Surgeries may cost a third of what they do in the United States and this is the main reason why Costa Rica has become one of the top destinations for medical and cosmetic treatments in the world.

If you enjoy the expat lifestyle, add Costa Rica to your list if you have not already. This tropical paradise is highly competitive with some of the best health care in the world.

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Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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