How To Purchase Health Insurance For Ex-pats In Costa Rica

Moving to Costa Rica can be fun most times, especially with the number of tourist attractions in the South American country. In addition, the quality of life makes ex-pats settle there with their families. But there comes a problem with purchasing Health Insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica.

This problem is general for all foreigners coming to the country for the first time. They wonder about the best insurance package for themselves and their family. How can they purchase it? And whether to use private or public health insurance while in Costa Rica.

Thus, this article will expose you to the best insurance for foreigners in Costa Rica, the coverage of public health, the advantages and disadvantages of health insurance, the cost of health insurance in Costa Rica, and many more.

Health Insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has a public health system that allows residents in the country to enjoy equal health care with citizens of Costa Rica. Every ex-pat living and working in Costa Rica must therefore register with the national healthcare system known ‘Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS),’ or simply ‘Caja.’

However, you can still use private health insurance, which offers quicker services than national insurance. In addition, you can work with English-speaking doctors at private hospitals.

What does health insurance cover in Costa Rica?

Health insurance in Costa Rica covers almost all the medical needs of patients. The insurance includes the citizens and residents o the country. Thus, it covers the following:

  • General medicine
  • Specialized and surgical care
  • Advanced surgical procedures
  • Cash subsidies
  • Pharmacy
  • Laboratory
  • Dentistry

Benefits of health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica

You will get the following benefits as a foreigner in Costa Rica if you register for public or private health insurance. They include:

  1. It covers the cost of pre-existing medical conditions.
  2. It has no age limit.
  3. The cost of health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica decreases with age.

Disadvantages of health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica

Despite the benefits of having health insurance in Costa Roca, it also has some disadvantages. They include:

  • There are usually long queues
  • Private hospitals and clinics are most times understaffed
  • Sometimes, it is hard to find specialists
  • English-speaking doctors are rare in the rural areas

Private Health Insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica

Citizens and residents of Costa Rica prefer private health insurance over public health for many reasons. The reason is that you do not have to wait long in private hospitals as in public hospitals. Moreover, you do not have to pay much for private hospitals. Therefore, subscribing to private health insurance by ex-pats is worth it.

Best private health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica

  1. Cigna Global Insurance Plan
  2. Xplorer Worldwide Medical
  3. StudentSecure Insurance

Cigna Global Insurance Plan

The best private health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica is Cigna Global Insurance Plan. It covers all aspects of your medicare in Costa Rica. The Cigna Global Insurance plan is annual and renewable.

There are three plan designs for subscribers of the Cigna Global Insurance Plan. The premium plan covers all medical expenses. The coverage includes

  • doctor office visits
  • prescription drugs
  • maternity
  • surgery
  • hospitalizations
  • diagnostic testing
  • lab work
  • emergency medical evacuation
  • repatriation

Moreover, the plan is worldwide, with an option to include or exclude the US package.

The benefits of this plan include:

  • You can choose a plan to suit your individual needs
  • You will have access to Cigna Global’s trusted network of hospitals and doctors
  • All year-round customer service

Xplorer Worldwide Medical

The Xplorer Worldwide Medical is for US citizens in Costa Rica. It covers all your medical treatment in the country, including access to the USA’s Blue Cross Blue Shield network of doctors and hospitals. Benefits of this coverage include:

  • Premium Benefits
  • Coverage and Service
  • Define your deductible and prescription benefits

StudentSecure Insurance

StudentSecure Insurance is for international students in Costa Rica. It offers affordable health care to them. The benefits of this package include:

  • COVID-19 (coronavirus) traetment
  • Good customer service when you need it
  • Covers the duration of your studies
  • Services to over 130 countries

Hospitals that accept health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica

Every hospital in Costa Rica does not accept health insurance for ex-pats in the country. Therefore, you have to ask to know which hospitals you need to visit while in Costa Rica. Here is a list of hospitals you go to if you have health insurance as an ex-pat in Costa Rica. They include:

  1. Clinica San Miguel
    3rd Avenue, 6th and 8th Street, Alajuela, Costa Rica
    Contact: +506 2442-5958
  2. Clinica Santa Rita
    Av. 8, González Lahmann, San José, Costa Rica
    Contact: +506 2221-6433 / 2255-1618
  3. Clinica Unibe
    200 metros al Este del ICE, San José, Tibás, Costa Rica
    Contact: +506 2297-6300
  4. Hospital Cima
    Autopista Próspero Fernández, San José, San Rafael, Costa Rica
    Contact: +506 2208-1000
  5. Hospital Clinica Biblica
    Av. 14, Laberinto, San José, Costa Rica
    Contact: +506 2522 1000
  6. Hospital Metropolitano
    Merced, San José Province, San José, Costa Rica
    Contact: +506 2521 9595
  7. Hospital Cristiano Jerusalem
    218 Hopital Jerusalem, El alto de Guadalupe, 2ndo piso Consultorio #1 Guadalupe San Jose CR, San José, 10801, Costa Rica
    Contact: +506 2216 9191
  8. Hospital Hotel La Catolica
    Pilar Jimenez, San José Province, Guadalupe, Costa Rica
    Contact: +506 2246 3000

How to register for health insurance as an ex-pat in Costa Rica

All long-term residents must register for health insurance in the country. It means that you must register for national insurance with Caja. Therefore, you will follow the steps below to register with Caja. They include:

Step 1. Gather your documents

Firstly, you must collect all the documents you need to apply for health insurance in Costa Rica as an ex-pat. The requirements include the following:

  1. Your residence card
  2. Your passport
  3. A notarized photocopy of your passport ID page
  4. Your address and residence
  5. Registration Request form

Step 2. Visit your local Caja office

Once you have gathered all the documents for health insurance as an ex-pat in Costa Rica, you will need to visit the Caja office in your locality. Then, submit your application and other documents.

Step 3. Pay the fee for health insurance in Costa Rica for ex-pats

The next step is to pay for health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica. Without your payment, you can not obtain your insurance card.

Step 4. Obtain your health card for health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica

Once the Caja authorities have processed your health insurance, they will contact you. Then, you can visit the Caja local office to receive your insurance card. Your health insurance card will have the same expiry date as your Costa Rica residence card.

Also Read: Costa Rica Work Visa – Documentation, application, and Fees

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Caja work?

Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social is funded by the public. Thus every resident and citizen of Costa Rica makes a monthly contribution to the running of Caja. It is usually between 9% and 11%, depending on your salary. Freelancers and self-employed persons will pay an annual amount according to what they earn that year.

The insurance coverage of Raja for foreigners in Costa Rica is 90%.

You will enjoy three medical facilities under health insurance for ex-pats in costa Rica. They include:

  • hospitals
  • clinics
  • ebais

What Does the Caja Cover in Costa Rica?

The Caja covers the following health care service for all residents. They include:

  • General medicine
  • Specialized and surgical care
  • Advanced surgical procedures
  • Cash subsidies
  • Pharmacy
  • Laboratory
  • Dentistry

How much is health insurance for ex-pats in Costa Rica?

You can expect to pay about $100 for health insurance as an ex-pat in Costa Rica. However, since you will pay 9% or 11% of your salary, it can be higher than #100.

How can I get free healthcare in Costa Rica as a foreigner?

Yes, you can get free healthcare in Costa Rica as an ex-pat. However, you have to contribute monthly to public health in the country. The contribution covers the cost of your medical treatment in Costa Rica.

What is National Insurance Institute in Costa Rica (INS)?

National Insurance Institute in Costa Rica (INS) is a private insurance company. However, the government of Costa Rica backs it up. Unlike the Caja, the national Insurance Institute is optional for citizens and residents. However, it offers additional services to what Caja offers. Therefore, people still pay for the INS.

How can I register for National National Insurance Institute in Costa Rica (INS)?

To register for  National Insurance Institute in Costa Rica (INS), applicants must fill out an application form. In addition, they must also complete a health declaration form and sign a permission slip. It will permit the INS to view the medical history of applicants.

Applicants of 55 years and above will need other documents. Moreover, INS does not accept applicants who are 70 years and above.

Conclusion

Public healthcare in Costa Rica is open to both citizens and ex-pats in Costa Rica. It gives you access to all medical facilities in the country. Therefore, you will have access to free medical attention while you live in Costa Rica.

However, you will need a monthly contribution from your salary to public healthcare in Costa Rica.

Meanwhile, you can still choose a private insurance as an ex-pat in Costa Rica which is faster. However, you will not pay much for their services.

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