The Healthcare System In Costa Rica The Medical Attention Available To Americans In Costa Rica

A major consideration for retirees searching for a country to retire in is the destination’s health care offerings. Once you’ve read up on the health care system in Costa Rica, you’ll be able to retire free of doubt in this Latin American country.

Quality of the Health Care System in Costa Rica

The average life expectancy for citizens living in Costa Rica is 77.72 years, only slightly lower than the United State’s 78.37 (CIA World Factbook, 2011). While Costa Rica is classified as a developing country, the health care system is advanced and modern. The government sponsors a network of 30 hospitals and 250 medical clinics alone, and then there are many privately-affiliated hospitals and labs as well.
Many Costa Rican doctors are trained in the United States, Canada or Europe, and have access to the latest equipment and technology. The majority of health professionals in Costa Rica are fluent in English and may offer house calls.

Universal Health Care in Costa Rica

Universal health care is provided for Costa Rican citizens and permanent residents. While living in Costa Rica, you are eligible to apply for the Caja Costarricense de Segura Social (CCSS), the national health care program. Even non-resident foreigners can get social security medical coverage by paying a fee. Private sector health care is also available through the Instituto de Seguro Nacional (INS) in Costa Rica.
Health care is much cheaper in Costa Rica than in the United States. For example, a heart bypass costs roughly one third of what the procedure would cost in the United States. Reports of scam artists posing as medical practitioners in Costa Rica have surfaced. You are encouraged to get a recommendation for a doctor from a reliable friend before undergoing any procedures.

Finding Medicines in Costa Rica

Americans in Costa Rica will find that a large percentage of drugs that require a prescription in the United States are available over the counter at Costa Rican pharmacies. Strong pain relievers and narcotics still require a prescription. Additionally, your savings on drugstore expenses will be considerable; the prices on most drugs are considerably lower, and most pharmacies employ bilingual employees to help you should you have any questions or concerns regarding a medicine or prescription.

The Health Care System in Costa Rica: Medical Tourism

With the cost of health care being so low in Costa Rica, and the quality of medical professionalism being so high, the country has become a popular and world-class medical tourism destination. Well over ten thousands Americans looking for everything from cosmetic surgery to liver and kidney transplants come to Costa Rica every year.
When planning an extended stay in Costa Rica, you’ll want to consider a preliminary trip to assess your feelings of the country.