How To Find A Doctor Or Dentist
Do you need to know how to find a doctor or a dentist in Costa Rica? The medical practitioner you visit depends on whether you use only public health insurance, or opt for private, too.
The Myth about Doctors in Costa Rica
Although Costa Rica is known as a hotspot for medical tourism, people may assume that this has everything to do with the cost rather than the care. There is a general perception that medical professionals in this country, and in developing countries in general, are not as qualified as doctors and nurses in Europe and North America.
On the contrary, the quality of care people receive in the Pura Vida country is on-par with many developed nations. The country continually requires staff to go through training in order to update and perfect medical practices.
When visiting a doctor in Costa Rica, you will find that many either studied or worked abroad. Because of the proximity, they have most commonly done this in the US. It is also common to find English-speaking professionals, especially if you are in one of the bigger cities in the country. Be sure to ask about this when making your appointment, even if you go to a public facility.
How to Find a Family Doctor
If you use private insurance, it may be possible to see the same doctor when you want. Private hospitals and clinics allow insurance holders to request practitioners.
How to Find Specialists
How to Find a Dentist
Average Wait Time to See a Doctor in Costa Rica
How Much Do You Need To Pay
The price of CAJA is mainly based on a percentage of your declared income at the time of the application at your local CCSS office.
Its usually in the range of 4% to 12%.
In addition, it depends on your age and residency status.
The only way to know the exact premium is to have an interview with CAJA staff during the application process. However, its reported that different staff may have different ways to calculate your premiums.
Even if two people declare the same income, their premiums might be different.
Tell them your current financial situation with proof, and they will come up with a premium that they think is suitable to your situation.
CAJA premiums are subject to change. Proof of payment to CAJA is required when you need to apply or renew your residency status.
Because of this, you may hear about people paying wildly different amounts for CAJA. A retiree may pay less than $100 a month, while it might cost more than $700 for an investor.
The CAJA premiums must be paid every month. If you fail to pay six times, your public insurance will be blocked until the remaining balance is paid in full, with interest.
* Important Update For Minors And Individuals Who Are Fully Vaccinated *
As of August 1, 2021, all tourists under 18 years of age can enter the country without a travel policy.
As of August 1, 2021, all tourists who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and inoculated with Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson can enter the country without a travel policy. The last dose of the vaccine must have been applied at least 14 days before arrival in Costa Rica.
Vaccinated tourists must attach the vaccination certificate to the Health Pass. As proof, vaccination certificates and vaccination cards that contain at least the following information will be accepted:
1. Name of the person who received the vaccine 2. Date of each dose 3. Pharmaceutical house
In the case of U.S. travelers, the “COVID-19 vaccination record card” will be accepted. Tourists not vaccinated, with incomplete vaccination or vaccinated with a serum other than those admitted by the Costa Rican authorities, must purchase mandatory travel insurance that covers lodging in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 disease as detailed below.
Welcome to Costa Rica! To visit our country there are some requirements which must be met.
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Caja Costarricense De Seguro Social
Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, or CAJA, is public health insurance in Costa Rica. Its considered one of the best public health insurance systems in Latin America.
CAJA gives you free medical treatment, including coverage for pre-existing conditions, medication, and even dental and vision.
If you have CAJA, you can go to local clinics, public hospitals, or Los Equipos Básicos de Atención Integral en Salud , small clinics focusing on checkups and preventative care.
The treatment cost is covered in full as long as its deemed necessary by a doctor. You wont need to pay for medications either as long as they are on the official drug list.
Please note that people call CAJA by different names. It is known as the national health insurance system, CCSS, social security, and also public health insurance.
How Do You Apply To Join The State Health Insurance System
If you are employed, then your employer will sign you up to the Caja. They will then give you a receipt of registration called the “orden patronal.”
If you are self-employed but have residency, you will need to sign up at your nearest regional government office. They will then direct you to an EBAIS , your nearest local clinic, who will issue you with a carnet . You may need a utility receipt as proof of residence and you will need to show your residency permit from the Department of Immigration.
Although you need residency status, you do not have to be living in Costa Rica full-time to qualify for the Caja.
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International Plan With Large Deductibles
The International Plan with a large deductible is a slight variation of the aforementioned International Plan, except that it allows for lower premiums and higher deductibles. For individuals wanting a $15,000 deductible, a 25 year-old male would pay $305 per year, and a female $343 a 50 year-old male would pay $571, and a female $618.
Deductibles also come in $10,000 and $5,000 increments, with the lower deductibles corresponding with higher yearly premiums. Prices are even lower still if paying on a collective family plan.
Healthcare Options In Costa Rica
The cost for medical care and medications in Costa Rica is significantly less than in North America. There are 3 main ways residents can obtain health coverage:
The Costa Rican government also views medical care as a public obligation. More than 50 years ago, the Costa Rican government created a workers’ health insurance program that today covers around 90% of the population. This is because one worker may cover several members of his family under his one policy. This system is known as the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social more commonly referred to as the CAJA. In this system, even if you are not working you can pay a voluntary quote to obtain medical health coverage which could run you and your family about $100 a month.
This is the way most Costa Ricans receive national coverage, through their jobs or by paying an independent quote. This costs around $37 a month per person which covers just about anything. The drawback to the CAJA is that since it is practically free the system is overcrowded. Therefore, there are long waiting lists for certain specialized surgeries. If you select the CAJA then you must use the public hospitals or the EBAIS smaller clinics scattered all over the country.
Using both th CAJA and INS
How Much Is Healthcare In Costa Rica
If you are a legal resident you will be required to join the national healthcare system. As outlined above, that cost typically runs 7% to 11% of your stated income on your residency application. For example, if you receive $1,200 per month in Social Security from the U.S., and you and your dependent spouse have applied jointly, your monthly Caja payment will be approximately $84 to $132 per month for both of you. To apply for residency jointly, you only need to claim one Social Security payment as your income, as long as it is $1,000 or more.
If you choose to buy a private policy the premiums vary widely, based on chosen deductibles, age, current health condition, and the number of people covered on the policy. Some private companies will not cover seniors above a certain age or any pre-existing conditions. This is the most expensive option however it costs considerably less than buying a similar policy in the U.S. As an example, a 2021 quote from BMI/Aetna including emergency care up to 60-day consecutive periods outside of Costa Rica or a total of six months outside the country per calendar year for a healthy individual aged 59 with a $10,000 deductible was quoted at $2,600 annually. An estimated quote for a similar policy in the U.S. is $6,850 annually.
Do I Need A Covid Vaccine Or Vaccination Certificate To Enter Costa Rica
No, you don’t need a COVID vaccination certificate to enter Costa Rica. Now if you are a Covid vaccine certificate holder, you won’t need to present travel insurance that covers COVID-19 disease. Accepted vaccines are Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.
Since information may change quickly, we advise you to follow up on the latest Costa Rican travel updates and/or contact your local embassy.
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Diabetic Care In Costa Rica
A person considering a move to Costa Rica asked about diabetic care in Costa Rica, “Is is difficult to maintain an diabetic lifestyle? Obtaining supplies, costs etc?” An expat replied, “The question of whether supplies are easy to obtain has been raised before, but not to the cost involved or the ease of getting them. CAJA, the healthcare system here, does NOT provide everything, so I would say that it could depend on where you choose to live [in Costa Rica once a legal resident so I would advise you to search this out in the area that you are considering living and in person.”
What Items And Documents Are Required To Get The Health Pass
You can obtain the health pass online by using iVisa.com.
To receive this paper successfully you have to get these items first:
- The most important is the scan of your passports information page. This way, your travel data, and your contact details can be registered.
- You also have to give proof of your return tickets.
- Another thing you have to offer is valid proof of your accommodation.
- An email address: The Health Pass will be delivered by email so you have to give a valid email address.
- Payment alternatives: pay for the document using a valid credit/debit card or using your PayPal account.
Medical Insurance In Costa Rica
There are a number of health insurance plans available to foreigners living in Costa Rica. A global medical plan offers several benefits, most importantly, health care anywhere in the world including in your home country. You will also have access to a wider range of private health care facilities with shorter waiting periods. In short, you have access to the best care and highest quality services to cover your costs should you get injured or sick.
Dont Forget Your Travel Insurance In Costa Rica
So now you have everything put together and are ready to visit Costa Rica. You packed your clothes, your passport, you even planned out the trip to the last detail! Or have you? One thing that most of us always forget until the last minute is Travel Insurance. This is very ironic because this is the thing that is probably the most important for travel. You may be wondering though, what is the best type of travel Insurance? Where Should I get it? and how much coverage should we get? Luckily, Costa Rica is one of the best places to be in Central America when it comes to health insurance and possible medical problems. Check out our Safety Article for tips and trick on Costa Rica and read on for our advice on Costa Rica travel insurance!
We do not provide travel insurance or health insurance for your trip to Costa Rica. This is a purely informative article only. We strongly recommend you develop an insurance plan tailored to your travel needs with one of the travel insurance companies in your country of residence and always check the fine print on the insurance policy as well as the insurance coverage. What follows is basic information that is good to be aware of prior to visiting insurance providers.
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What Are The Amounts That Must Be Paid
The type of insurance that is required for residency purposes would be the insurance called asegurado voluntario which means you are insuring yourself as opposed to having an employer provide the health coverage.
The amount that will be used as the basis for monthly premium for coverage is based on a percentage of the income that you have reported when you applied for residency. As part of the process the applicant will be required to undergo a short interview with the Caja case officer to determine amount you will be required to pay. Each regional CAJA office has their own process to carry out the interview so much of this will depend on the particular Caja office for your location. The place where you live will determine the regional Caja office where you must apply. I have seen a lot of variations in procedures and methods used by local offices in the manner in which they go about establishing the income level threshold which then becomes the basis for the monthly premium. The starting point will always be the information that you provided in your immigration application as income.
Once that income amount is established then the following sliding scale will apply to that income to determine the monthly premium payment. Foreign residents are only required to pay into the health care portion and not into the pension system as such the information below relates to the health care premium payment.
Public And Private Healthcare Systems In Costa Rica
Costa Rica boasts a universal healthcare system called Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social , commonly referred to as the Caja. This system offers 100% coverage for all medical procedures and prescription drugs, through the public hospital and clinic system, to citizens, permanent residents, and visitors for a small monthly fee based on a percentage of their income. As with other nationalized, public healthcare systems, one would have to expect red tape and long waits for non-emergency situations, but the overall quality of Costa Ricas healthcare is excellent. And if you are considering applying for residency, you will have to pay into the CAJA as part of the immigration application process.
In private healthcare facilities, many doctors speak English and have received training in Europe, Canada, or the U.S. You can opt for the National Insurance Institute , which is backed by the Costa Rican government, or other foreign private health insurance, including international health insurance that covers travelers, permanent residents, and Costa Rican citizens no matter where they are in the world.
Payment and cost
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Entry Requirements In Times Of A Covid
The entrance to Costa Rica is enabled for tourists from all the countries of the world by air, land and sea. included in the general guidelines for entry and stay visas for non-residents, that is, they do not require a visa. Individuals whose nationality is in the third and fourth groups and who require a consular or consulted visa to enter, may visit Costa Rica by land when the Costa Rican consulates return to attend these procedures, on a date yet to be defined. In the meantime, they can opt for air or sea entry.Starting Sept.September 1st, Costa Rica reactivated cruise tourism for the 2021-2022 season. As a requirement, vessels must guarantee complete vaccination schedules against the COVID-19 virus in all crew members and 95% of passengers who are of age to be vaccinated.
Permitted vaccines are those authorized by the National Commission of Vaccination and Epidemiology, and the last dose must have been administered at least 14 days prior to departure. Given the nature of the cruise activity, both crew members and cruise passengers are covered by travel insurance
The Health Pass can only be completed within 72 hours of arriving in the country. It must be accessed in updated browsers with the exception of Internet Explorer. One form must be completed per person, including minors, without exception.
Costa Rica Has Travel Insurance Requirements
Costa Rica mandates that certain tourists buy travel medical insurance in order to visit:
All tourists must fill out a Health Pass. This must be filled out within 72 hours of arriving in Costa Rica.
- As of Aug.1, 2021, fully vaccinated visitors and all tourists under age 18 can enter the country without a travel insurance policy. The last dose of the vaccine must have been applied at least 14 days before arrival in Costa Rica. Vaccinated tourists must attach a vaccination record to the Health Pass.
- If you are not vaccinatedor have an incomplete vaccinationyou must buy mandatory travel insurance that covers self-isolation lodging in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to Covid.
Here are the insurance details:
Tourists under age 18 and fully vaccinated travelers are not required to carry this insurance for a Costa Rica vacation.
Even if you are fully vaccinated, purchasing travel insurance for a Costa Rica vacation is a smart move. If youre required to buy insurance, consider buying more than the minimum required. A good comprehensive travel insurance policy can provide you with increased levels of medical coverage and other valuable benefits.
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