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Health Care Costa Rica

Expatriates can Expect Great Health Care in Costa Rica

Tablet pcRelocating to Costa Rica is exciting, yet can be daunting. One of the things prospective expatriates worry about most is health care. Is it affordable? Is it accessible? Is it high-quality? These are essential questions for those who plan to stay in Costa Rica long term. To provide some answers, we have put together a list of the top five things you need to know about the Costa Rican health care system.


Both citizens and residents of Costa Rica are eligible for Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, or CCSS, which is the country’s public health care system. The system has served the people of Costa Rica for over 60 years. While it is generally effective, wait times for office visits and procedures can be long.

Those living in Costa Rica can also opt for private health insurance plans, which can be purchased through the government’s insurance company, called INS. Alternatively (or in addition), they can purchase insurance plans from abroad.

Many residents use a combination of public and private health insurance to get the most efficient, cost-effective and timely care.


The cost for CCSS is income-based, and subscribers pay between 10 and 11.5 percent of their income for their health insurance. Most services, from checkups to major surgeries, are free.

Private insurance subscribers may pay anywhere from $60 to $130 monthly per person, depending on age, gender and overall health.

In general, health care in Costa Rica costs only 1/3rd to 1/5th of rates in the United States, and most people in Costa Rica don’t pay more than $60 for any single doctor’s visit.


Costa Rica is widely respected for the quality of its health care, and offers the best health care in Central America. Many doctors in Costa Rica earned their degrees in well-known European and American universities. In addition, hospitals, clinics and equipment are consistently upgraded to meet higher standards that reflect


There are at least 30 hospitals and 250 clinics in Costa Rica, making health care easily accessible. 10 of the country’s major hospitals and many of its clinics are affiliated with CCSS, and there are many private clinics and hospitals available. Some doctors in Costa Rica also make house calls if needed.


Under the CCSS, prescription medications are free. They are also generally very affordable under private insurance. What’s more, many medications that are only available by prescription in the United States are dispensed over the counter in Costa Rica. Pharmacists can be very helpful in diagnosing minor illnesses, and have the authority to provide medications.






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