Important things you should know about Health Care in Costa Rica
If you are planning to live in Costa Rica, you need to know that:
In most cases foreign health insurance can be used in Costa Rica, during the time awaiting your residency approval.
It is important to check if your health insurance has international coverage.
You also have the option to acquire a private health plan through INS (National Insurance Company).
Make sure you have an insurance plan before you come here, just to be calm in case of an emergency.
How can you get your INS private health plan?
To apply to a local health plan, the only requirement is to have the residency application in process. In ARCR office, we have an INS agent that can help you with advice on which health plan you can get according to your needs.
Costa Rican Social Security System – The CAJA
Once your residency is approved you can keep your private health plan, but by Costa Rican law residents will be mandated to enroll into the National Security System.
The “Caja” is the medical care service for all ticos, this healthcare system was designed to provide service to everyone, insured or not; everybody is taken in, with a preexisting condition or not.
The Caja has the best medical attention and coverage all over the country. Because of the quantity of people receiving medical treatment or having medical appointments in The Caja, sometimes the service is not the best, your medical appointment could take 5 months or more. That is why, we advise you to get a private health insurance plan, and have your Caja, just in case you need it.
In ARCR, we help you with the process of getting registered in the The Caja, so don’t worry it won’t be complicated!
If you have a specific medical condition it’s important that you have a trusted doctor in the private hospitals or clinics, that can help you anytime you need. In Costa Rica, there are physicians that work privately and work also in The Caja, you can ask them in case you need a medical prescription for The National Security System.
Your Resident ID and the The Caja
When residency has been granted the applicant will be issued a DIMEX (Documento de Identidad Migratorio para Extranjeros) card, aka Cédula. Once you get the cédula, remember to check the EXPIRATION DATE, stay up to date with the system; it is illegal to be in the country with an expired DIMEX and can be reason for deportation. The Caja will not give you treatment, or medical appointments if you aren’t up to date, except in extreme emergencies. So, remember to have really present your DIMEX expiration date because you should begin your renewal application at least one month before expiration.
If you have further questions about Health Care, please don’t hesitate to send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org