Monday 20 September 2021

Why This Texas Doctor says Costa Rica’s Health Care System Beats The US

Paying the bills

Latest

1,308 complaints about parties and agglomerations this weekend

QCOSTARICA - Police actions to enforce health regulations do...

ELON MUSK LAYS OUT WHEN TESLA WILL START RECEIVING BITCOIN

Following the series of accusations and backlash levelled against...

Top 3 Tips for Better Online Casino Security

The gambling industry has prospered over the years and...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction September 20: Plates ending in “1 & 2” CANNOT circulate

QCOSTARICA - For today, Monday, September 20, vehicles with...

Athleta women’s brand opened its first store outside North America in Costa Rica

QCOSTARICA - Gap Inc.'s Athleta brand announced the opening...

Carlos Alvarado: Vaccine retention ‘delays global solution and increases risk of new virus variables’

QCOSTARICA - Costa Rica President Carlos Alvarado showed his...
Paying the bills

Share

Q COSTA RICA (Internationaliving.com) I was sitting on our cantilevered terrace, listening to birdsong and the river flowing below me. I pondered the 11,000-foot-tall Volcano Irazú in the distance. From the top of the tallest volcano in the country, it’s possible to see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on a clear day.

Suddenly there came a rapid-fire knock at the door. I knew something was different this morning—Costa Ricans rarely get worked up.

A neighbor, who knew I’d worked as a doctor in the U.S. before retiring to Costa Rica, wanted me to check his uncle, who was “having a problem.” I found an elderly fellow, surrounded by supportive family members, who was in pain and having a nosebleed. We loaded him in my car and drove the three miles to the nearest Caja—the nickname for the local public healthcare office.

- Advertisement -

Although the waiting room was occupied by folks waiting their turn, everyone generously ushered us to the front of the line. The old man was immediately assessed by the physician, received an ECG (to check for electrical problems with the heart), was stabilized, and later transported to a large hospital about 30 minutes away. There he was treated for his heart attack. I never saw it handled any faster when I was working in the U.S.

San José is home to world-class healthcare that won’t break the bank. iStock.com/Dmitry Chulov

When my partner and I left Texas for Costa Rica, many friends said, “Well sure, you’re not worried about medical care; you’re a doctor.” To tell the truth, that actually makes me much more critical of the medical care available in other countries. Unlike some foreign nations, Costa Rica has nothing to worry about; state-of-the-art services are available here in all branches of medicine and dentistry.

Costa Rica has both public and private healthcare sectors. Every town has its EBAIS (Caja) office where people from the neighborhood—expat residents as well as locals—can receive preventative and primary care. And there’s no pre-existing condition exclusion.

There are also private doctors and hospitals, just as you’re used to in North America.

For example, CIMA Hospital in San José has it all…intensive care, all the surgical specialties, and even dental treatments.

- Advertisement -

All at 30% to 70% cheaper than U.S. or Canadian prices. And it is Joint Commission International-certified. That’s the gold standard in healthcare—many U.S. hospitals fail to receive that accreditation. And it is the only hospital in Central America that is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

CIMA hospital, Escazu (San Jose), Costa Rica.

That’s not to say that public hospitals aren’t up to snuff.

Margaret Aliff, an expat who lives in the San José suburb of Escazú, tells this story: “I’ve had three ER [emergency room] experiences in Costa Rica: one at a private hospital and two at a public hospital. I would rate all ER experiences as very good, but I thought the public hospital was more thorough both times.”

- Advertisement -

Many expats use a combination of the two systems. Donald Martin, 73, had knee surgery in Georgia some time ago that is now failing him. He needs a series of injections in his knee. He saw his Caja doctor here in Costa Rica, who reviewed the records his orthopedist sent from Atlanta. He could have waited a few weeks for an appointment within the Caja system—about the same wait time for new patients to see a specialist in the U.S. But he preferred to be seen immediately and was referred to three nearby surgeons in the private sector.

The next day, he learned he could receive the same treatment he’d had in Georgia, but at a considerable saving. “Not only am I saving on time and airfare back to Georgia, but the cost of the injections is $400 here, as opposed to the $1,200 I was quoted there.”

While some U.S. insurance carriers won’t cover costs in Costa Rica unless it’s an emergency, many expats find that private insurance here is very reasonable. John and Lori Jowett have recently gotten their insurance through Blue Cross of Costa Rica. “For a premium of $462 per month, we have better coverage than we had in Florida, and at half the cost.” They also point out that, because healthcare is less expensive here, the $1 million policy here buys you closer to $3 to $5 million of care.

In addition, the country is finding new ways to help lower healthcare costs. I recently discovered a program called MediSmart. It works with Hospital Metropolitano, one of San José’s private hospitals. Essentially, a couple can get deeply discounted medical services at Metropolitano by paying a $17-a-month “retainer.” While normal office visits may run $40 to $50 (still a bargain, at one-third the U.S. cost), they’re reduced to $14 to $18 by paying the retainer. Other costs can show similar price breaks, like a CT scan for only $320, compared to $800 in Texas.

And expats aren’t the only ones who benefit from Costa Rica’s healthcare. Medical tourism is also growing rapidly. An estimated 40,000 people visit Costa Rica each year for some specific healthcare need.

When my fishing buddy, Kenneth Thomas, needed dental implants last winter, he drove past myriad dental offices in icy Fort Worth, Texas, and flew to sunny Costa Rica. He found he could save $15,000, even after paying for the airfare and his lodgings. Smiling a new perfect smile, Thomas reveals an added benefit: “I got to enjoy a few extra days in the paradise of beaches, as well as in some of the country’s numerous national parks. That will make you want to visit the dentist!”

Article originally appeared on Internationalliving.com

- Advertisement -
Paying the bills
Ricohttp://www.theqmedia.com
"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

Related Articles

More than 1.1 million vaccines against covid-19 have been received so far in September

QCOSTARICA - With the arrival of 157,950 doses of the vaccine...

CCSS activates ‘vacunatón’ against covid-19

QCOSTARICA - Starting this Friday, and for 10 days, the health...

Subscribe to our stories

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.