Life expectancy in Costa Rica is higher than the U.S.—and they spend 87% less on health care in Costa Rica than in the U.S.!
How do they do it? One reason is Costa Rica’s public healthcare system.
Commonly called La Caja, Costa Rica’s public health insurance system (Costarricense de Seguro Social or CCSS) is available country-wide to all citizens and legal residents. More than 80% of Costa Rica’s population takes advantage of La Caja coverage.
With a government-sponsored network of more than 30 hospitals and more than 250 clinics throughout the country, the Caja has worked well for Costa Ricans for the past 60 years.
But it’s the cost of health care in Costa Rica that’s the eye-opener for expats there. Caja provides affordable medical service to any foreign resident or visitor, and they can join the Caja by paying a small monthly fee based on income, with actual costs averaging around $50 to $60 per month.
Health Care in Costa Rica Through Private Insurance
Many of the country’s highly trained physicians and some dentists work in the mornings for the CCSS and operate their own offices and clinics in the afternoons and evenings.
While private health care in Costa Rica is more expensive than that offered by the same doctors and surgeons through the CCSS, the price is still far below that of the average office visit in the U.S.
For example, a private office visit to almost any medical specialist costs around $40. Continued treatments for diagnosed problems will vary, but will almost always be considerably less than comparable treatment in the United States.
Dental work, too, is provided at a much lower cost than in the U.S.—prompting a phenomenon known as “health tourism.”
Health Care in Costa Rica’s Dental System
From simple fillings to complicated multiple implants and periodontal work, Costa Rican dentists are as qualified and skilled as dentists anywhere—and prices are far less than most anywhere else.
This is another growing area of health tourism—foreign patients seeking dental work arrive in Costa Rica in greater numbers every year. Laboratory work, too, is much cheaper in Costa Rica, and materials used are all FDA-approved and imported from the U.S.
Editor’s Note: See the video below from Dan Prescher and Suzan Haskins on why they think Costa Rica is a great place to live.
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