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Expat Health Insurance vs Travel Insurance in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Living – Since time immemorial Costa Rica has always been, and always will be, famous for its beautiful beaches, picturesque scenery and fun-filled nature adventure tours. Also, for the past two decades it has become a household name for medical and dental tourism since Costa Rica’s standards when it comes to medicine and dentistry is far from being inferior when compared to United Kingdom and American done services; it is actually considered to be top of the line and can compete with leading nations. To make it even better, the prices of medical and dental procedures are way more economical in Costa Rica.

health insurance costa rica 1If you are someone who needs to travel to Costa Rica either for leisure, medical or business reasons and you need to stay for a long time, it is advisable that you acquire an expatriate health insurance or travel insurance. Your length and purpose of stay abroad should be the basis of what type of insurance you should get. Let us differentiate the two.

Travel health insurance is designed to cover inpatient treatment check-ups and continuing treatment of chronic conditions of holidaymakers when travelling abroad and can only be used for emergency claims. It is meant to return you back home where you can continue treatment once you are fit to travel back home. On the other hand, an Expatriate Health Insurance is specially designed for expatriates who are living and working abroad for a long period of time. It fully covers you for the full period of time you are staying abroad and allows you to choose where you want to have your treatment for emergency and non-emergency cases, which means hospital stays, consultation fees and the actual treatment is covered. Additional care like maternity, dental, vision and general health care can be added on but keep in mind that more coverage means higher premiums.

When it comes to dental care, almost 70 per cent of insurance firms only provides minimal coverage and can just be used for medical reasons.  Treatments that are considered non-essential and can be lived without will come out of a patient’s pocket.

Currently there are 2 major insurance providers in Costa Rica which are INS (Instituto Nacional de Seguros) and CCSS (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social). With INS there is a limit of $17,500, and dental work, eye glasses and cosmetic surgery are covered if they are needed as part of treatment for an accident and claims are based on a table rating types of treatment provided. Costs of insurance plans are dependent on age and sex. The approximate premium for men up to age 59 is around $550, while men aged 60 to 75 is $1020. On the other hand, women aged 19 to 59 would have to pay an annual premium of $885, while those between 60 and 75 need to take care of $1,305. With CCSS pre-existing conditions, doctors fees, medicines, examination, hospitalization, dental and eye care are covered but be prepared for long lines and waiting time since it is a socialized health plan. The cost for CCSS plans are very reasonable which is $37 per month for a family whose principal insured person is over 55 years of age while it is going to be $58 per month if the principal insured person is below 55 years of age.

No matter what your reason is for going to Costa Rica remember that obtaining health insurance that fits you and your family’s need should be your top priority so it is important that you do a thorough research on what type of health insurance that suits your needs as well as their policies.


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