Costa Rica has become one the most popular ex-pat retirement destinations the world over, and Costa Rica health care is one of the many excellent reasons for its steadily increasing popularity. Costa Rica health care for retirees is both widely available and extremely affordable. Expat retirees will be surprised to find that they have more choices in this area than they expected.
Costa Rica has the best national universal health care system in Latin America. The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (or CCSS) offers over 30 national hospitals and 250 clinics that provide top quality national health care to anyone who needs it. Costa Rica ex-pat retirees can either buy into the CCSSnetwork for a small monthly fee (based on income), or If they prefer, they can purchase private health insurance from the state monopoly Instituto de Seguro Nacional (or INS). Private health insurance is extremely affordable and grants easy access to over 200 private physicians, hospitals, medical labs, etc. Both choices are safe and convenient.
Like health care in any country, Costa Rica’s public health care system isn’t problem free. The biggest issue by far revolves around wait-times for certain procedures and crowding at some clinics. Wait times are not unreasonable or dangerous, however. As a matter of fact, Costa Ricans as a people have one on the longest life expectancies of any national population on earth, and the excellent national health care is a big part of the reason for this.
National universal health care has been working well for Costa Rica for over 60 years. Ex-pats from countries that have similar universal systems will feel right at home with Costa Rica health care. Ex-pats from countries that offer only high-priced private health care will be amazed at the excellence and low cost of Costa Rica’s health care options.
Costa Rica retirees who don’t want to buy into the national system will find that private care is also easily acccessible, excellent, and much, much less expensive than it is in the United States (and other European nations that offer private care). A standard office visit, for example, rarely costs more than $40 USD at a private clinic, and prices for other procedures are proportionately low. Many doctors who work in the public CCSS health care network in the morning offer private care in their own clinics in the afternoons.
Costa Rica is also home to many excellent cosmetic surgery and dental clinics. Although every specialized procedure is priced differently, in general prices can be as much as 50% lower than in the United States. Plastic surgery tourism and dental tourism are becoming hot new industries in Costa Rica, as Americans burdened by the cost of these services at home discover than they can get state-of-the-art care in Costa Rica for much less, even factoring in round air fare and accommodations. Canadians and ex-pat retirees from other nations will be impressed with the state-of the-art technology available and the expertise.
In summary, health care for Costa Rica retirees is available, affordable, and easy to use. Special services like laser surgery and dental implants are also accessible and popular. Retirees have many choices: No one is locked into using a single crowded clinic or a specific doctor that might not fit his or her needs. With so many excellent services and such a relaxed, stress-free quality of life, it’s easy to understand why Costa Rica has become the hottest retirement location in the world today.