The debate on U.S. health care took a strange turn recently when Rush Limbaugh announced that if the health legislation became law, he’d move to Costa Rica. He later recanted somewhat, saying that he wouldn’t move to Costa Rica—he would just seek medical care there.
His comments focused attention on Costa Rica’s social health care system, dating from 1941. Costa Ricans pay a 9% income tax, which funds the system. As of March 1, under Costa Rica’s new immigration law, all residents must opt into the system, too.
The cost is around $50 a month per resident, and it covers pre-existing conditions, medications, and doctor and hospital visits.
You won’t just find modern hospitals in Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. The Southern Zone has a modern 85,0000-square-foot hospital, opened in April 2008. The hospital has a state-of-the-art emergency room, a pediatrics wing, a neurology center and an obstetrics center.
The hospital is out of proportion to the area right now…this part of Costa Rica is not densely populated. However, plans are afoot for a new international airport. The government has already chosen the site and allocated funds. Eventually, the plan is to have a runway capable of accommodating even the world’s largest passenger planes.
A new airport will improve accessibility…and improved accessibility means more people traveling to the Southern Zone, falling in love with it, and wanting to own a piece of it. That means one thing: property prices should rise.
It’s already starting: the upgraded coastal road officially opened in January, making travel here quicker, easier and more comfortable. The special discounted trips called “Chill Weekends” we run for International Living magazine subscribers have gone from one a month to three this month, to cope with the increased demand.
Editor’s Note: Margaret Summerfield is a Director of Pathfinder (International Living’s preferred real estate advertising partner), which focuses on opportunity for gains in strategic pockets around the world-before most folks have even heard of them.