Monday, October 6, 2014

Health Insurance in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has some of the best health care in Latin America and costs are very low in comparison to the US (typically about 1/3 to 1/5 of US health care costs). Health insurance is available in Costa Rica through the Government Medical Plan Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS and commonly known as CAJA) which provides access to and medical care from more than 30 hospitals and over 250 clinics throughout the country,and INS (Instituto Nacional de Seguros) which provides access to more than 200 affiliated doctors, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies in the private sector.

INS (Instituto Nacional de Seguros)

INS offers medical insurance up to a limit of about $17,500 per year, and it does not cover pre-existing conditions or check ups. Accidental dental, eye and cosmetic treatement are only covered if non elective and 
suffered through an accident. Costs vary with age and sex. This plan pays 70% of prescription drugs, examinations, doctor visits, hospitalization and treatment and 100% of surgeons’ and anesthetists’ fees. The patient is free to choose the doctor. Premiums for men up to age 59 are $550 and rising to $1000 for men between ages 60 and 75. Dependants under 19 are approximately $250 per year. Women aged 19 to 59 would pay about $900 and between 60 and 75 $1,300.

Whilst $17,500 per year is a low upper limit, the cost of healthcare in Costa Rica is relatively low.

It should be noted that many international health care policies are available which cover medical insurance in Costa Rica and in some cases these policies have direct payment agreements with Costa Rica hospitals.


An alternative to the INS plan is the CCSS (aka CAJA) plan. (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social) Most Costa Ricans have this government medical plan and CCSS is  is in charge of most of the nation's public
health sector. All employees must have CCSS membership paid by their employer and the plan covers pre-existing conditions, doctor visits, prescription drugs, examinations, hospitalization, dental and eyes. There is no limit on annual amounts paid out by the plan. A doctor and clinic is assigned to the patient. Lines and the processes can be long, but you will get high quality medical treatment and care.

Membership of CCSS is required for all permanent residents of Costa Rica and membership typically costs about $60 per month. CCSS membership includes a compulsory pension fund payment for those under 55 years of age.

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