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What are hospitals in Costa Rica like?

Costa Rica is not just one of the happiest countries in the world but also one of the healthiest. According to a recent Bloomberg research paper, Costa Rica ranks as the healthiest country in Latin America and 24th in their world standings.

The majority of medical institutions outside of North America and Europe have a reputation for being in decline. Thus the condition of the country’s medical facilities may be a cause for concern to the unfamiliar. This is especially reasonable for older citizens contemplating retirement in Costa Rica due to the country’s cheaper cost of living. While the “decline” may be the case in other nations, Costa Rican hospitals provide medical care comparable to most Western nations. Healthcare here is renowned for being among the finest in Latin America. 

The Condition of Healthcare in Costa Rica

Residents of Costa Rica and those with valid work permits are legally obliged to apply for the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, or CAJA. This is Costa Rica’s national healthcare program and is considered one of, if not “the” best public health insurance program in Latin America.

The healthcare system in Costa Rica has been recognized as one of the best in the world by The World Health Organization, which ranks the country 33rd, ahead of the United States, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, the United Nations ranks Costa Rica’s healthcare as one of the top 20 in the world.

According to a study by the world health organization, Costa Rica has a greater life expectancy than the United States because the health gradient is less severe, and lower socioeconomic groups in Costa Rica outperform their counterparts in the United States. This, to say the least is thanks to the current healthcare system.

Tourism for Medical Purposes

The dozens of private hospitals and clinics providing quality treatments at reasonable costs have made Costa Rica become a popular medical tourism destination, drawing around 20,000+ and growing individuals annually.

While medical tourism here is a relatively new phenomenon it all arguably began with aesthetic (plastic surgery) and dental procedures in the early 2000s. Since then the other sectors are increasingly gaining popularity. Particularly for various types of high-caliber surgical operations and other special medical treatments. Typically, leading surgeons and physicians here have studied and gained professional experience overseas in the United States, Canada, or Europe.

Luckily for North Americans, Costa Rica is just a short flight away, with daily, frequent flights from the United States and Canada. Most Europeans and North Americans are exempt from strict visa requirements and are often granted up to 90 days on a tourist visa. As a result, it may also be a wonderful chance to get to know this lovely country personally and end up saving more money than if they had their medical procedures done at home.

Did you know Costa Rica’s public healthcare accepts preexisting conditions?

The medical care from CAJA includes coverage for preexisting diseases, dentistry needs, eye care, and more for new residents. These procedures and more can be completely complimentary if a doctor deems the therapy received was necessary. Also, you may not be required to pay for your prescription needs ongoing or otherwise if they are on the official drug list of CAJA.

Are you interested in becoming a Costa Rican resident and receiving healthcare for preexisting medical conditions? Fill out the quick 30 second assessment here from CRIE – Costa Rica Immigration Experts and find out if you qualify for a residency category.


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