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Medical Care/ Dental Care

I'm pretty serious in considering to live in Costa Rica short-term. I live in Canada. I was curious how is the medical and dental care in Costa Rica generally speaking?

If a teaching job provides health insurance, will it cover most medical care (dental visits every couple of months and doctor visits when needed)? Thanks.

You can have health insurance through your job and visit the doctor when you feel or need it, but you have to be a CR resident though, or you can buy a private plan. In general, you'll find good doctors and dentist in the private sector; the public one will attend you fairly good, but as part of the dozens they have to attend each day.

If you have been issued a work visa, you will be required to pay into CAJA...although the socialized healthcare system does not cover cosmetic dentistry cleanings, implants, etc...and you will wait, many months for an appointment.

kohlerias :

If you have been issued a work visa, you will be required to pay into CAJA...although the socialized healthcare system does not cover cosmetic dentistry cleanings, implants, etc...and you will wait, many months for an appointment.

The time I've used the CAJA for dentistry I've gotten the appointment within a week, and I have had cleanings, many times. The thing is that the dentist will need two or three appointments to clean. It's like they give you 15 mins of work, then you hear "NEXT".

I knew I should have typed 'could have to wait...' :D

Anyway, I use the CAJA for healthcare but avoid their dentists, but do know that in our local clinic, getting dental appointments generally takes longer.

MauroN :

You can have health insurance through your job and visit the doctor when you feel or need it, but you have to be a CR resident though, or you can buy a private plan. In general, you'll find good doctors and dentist in the private sector; the public one will attend you fairly good, but as part of the dozens they have to attend each day.

Okay, good to know. How much does a private plan go for approximately? Thanks.

Interesting...Before one is eligible for CAJA, is it possible to pay for a dental cleaning out of pocket?

Of course. Many, good dentists here.

Privately, yes, of course.

No idea. I have through my bank, for $20/month, a compensation plan that pays for each day in the hospital up to 6 months or a year depending on the cause of hospitalization, it does not cover dental.

Dentists and doctors here are hit and miss, especially with the CAJA public health system for residents. Personally I have found the doctors "okay" but not great, and I've never tried the dentists because I've heard the CAJA dentists are not good. YMMV.

There is a plan here in San Ramon at a couple clinics in town with private doctors - gp's and specialists - where you pay $10-15/ a month and get huge discounts on doctors, lab tests and surgeries and xrays etc. It does not include hospitalization however.

I'm not sure if you have to be a resident to get one of these "discount plans", but I think not.

In San Ramon ask for Jackson Memorial clinic or Natisol Clinic - both just down the hill from the hospital, on 2 of the north south streets.

I don't know anyone who's used the plan but it sounds good in theory, and I do know 2 people who've gone to doctors at these 2 clinics and were very happy with the doctors, even at regular prices. The plan gives something like 60% off and the monthly price varies according to age.

I think for people who are not residents here it might be a great plan - and I ASSUME these types of plans are available in other towns and cities. And for those who are residents and pay CAJA like me, I still think it's a good plan for if you need something quickly and don't want to deal with waiting for the CAJA specialist for months, and CAJA early morning lines and bureaucracy.

samramon :

Dentists and doctors here are hit and miss, especially with the CAJA public health system for residents. Personally I have found the doctors "okay" but not great, and I've never tried the dentists because I've heard the CAJA dentists are not good. YMMV.

There is a plan here in San Ramon at a couple clinics in town with private doctors - gp's and specialists - where you pay $10-15/ a month and get huge discounts on doctors, lab tests and surgeries and xrays etc. It does not include hospitalization however.

I'm not sure if you have to be a resident to get one of these "discount plans", but I think not.

In San Ramon ask for Jackson Memorial clinic or Natisol Clinic - both just down the hill from the hospital, on 2 of the north south streets.

I don't know anyone who's used the plan but it sounds good in theory, and I do know 2 people who've gone to doctors at these 2 clinics and were very happy with the doctors, even at regular prices. The plan gives something like 60% off and the monthly price varies according to age.

I think for people who are not residents here it might be a great plan - and I ASSUME these types of plans are available in other towns and cities. And for those who are residents and pay CAJA like me, I still think it's a good plan for if you need something quickly and don't want to deal with waiting for the CAJA specialist for months, and CAJA early morning lines and bureaucracy.

Thank you for the comment. I will check it out. for my own.

MauroN :

Thank you for the comment. I will check it out. for my own.

If you do look into it let me know what you think and what you find out. I have been planning to go back in there and ask a few follow up questions but just haven't gotten around to it yet. So if you find out any negatives or positives please let me know here in this thread or PM me. Thanks.
As i recall you live in Palmares right? They might have one there as well.
What i noted is that the 2 clinics here that I mentioned have EXACTLY the same brochure / leaflet about the plan, just with their own names on it. So one question I have is if you can go from one clinic to another (use both) or if you are limited only to the one you sign up with. My guess is the latter, but the weird thing is they have the exact same brochure, exact same prices and exact same 800 #...

Thanks, very helpful info!

samramon :
MauroN :

Thank you for the comment. I will check it out. for my own.

If you do look into it let me know what you think and what you find out. I have been planning to go back in there and ask a few follow up questions but just haven't gotten around to it yet. So if you find out any negatives or positives please let me know here in this thread or PM me. Thanks.
As i recall you live in Palmares right? They might have one there as well.
What i noted is that the 2 clinics here that I mentioned have EXACTLY the same brochure / leaflet about the plan, just with their own names on it. So one question I have is if you can go from one clinic to another (use both) or if you are limited only to the one you sign up with. My guess is the latter, but the weird thing is they have the exact same brochure, exact same prices and exact same 800 #...

I requested the info, one clinic said they emailed it but I haven't received anything. Yes, I live in Palmares but haven't seen an offer like tha here.

I will post you as soon as I get something.

Hi. I do not know how to attach a file here, other than a picture. For what I  read, people over 58 pay around 1100 colones more than younger ones which go for 6700/person for the basic plan, a Platinum plan is offered as well. I do not see a Dental coverage, only a discount on the dentist services. The basic plan covers percentages of visits, exams, etc which I didn't fully grasp. I asked for an explanation.
The offer 's in Spanish, if you want a copy, I will email it through mauron****@gmail.com

MauroN :

Hi. I do not know how to attach a file here, other than a picture. For what I  read, people over 58 pay around 1100 colones more than younger ones which go for 6700/person for the basic plan, a Platinum plan is offered as well. I do not see a Dental coverage, only a discount on the dentist services. The basic plan covers percentages of visits, exams, etc which I didn't fully grasp. I asked for an explanation.
The offer 's in Spanish, if you want a copy, I will email it through mauron****@gmail.com

MauroN I understood the basic plan at Jackson and Natisol in San Ramon.

The plan I am quoting is if you're over 59. (If you're under 59 you have 2 options, one plan cheaper and one more expensive but with more benefits (more doctor visits etc)

Basically it's a discount plan where you use their doctors - gp's and specialists . For a monthly fee of 7827colones which you pay up front for a year, you get these benefits (and some others):

* 6 general doctor consultations at about 10 mil each visit
* 3 specialist visits at 20mil or less per visit
* 2 xrays at about 5 mil each
* 30 lab tests at a 60% discount off their regular prices
* and most other services at a 50%-60% discount


Okay don't quote me, but this is what I understood... For sure check and double-check with them with your questions.

Somewhere I heard that surgeries are not included so you only get 10% off those and I think that's where they make their money maybe ??

Some of my questions are:
What if you do need surgery, what discount do you get?
If you need surgery or medicine it is my understanding they are CAJA doctors too so they can write you a prescription for free CAJA meds and can put you in for surgery via the CAJA at the hospital under your CAJA plan if you prefer to wait for CAJA instead of having them do the surgery.

As far as I know there is no dental nor optometry service offered.

Again this is my understanding, I may have misunderstood which is why I'm going back in soon with questions.
Here's an image of the brochure in ingles:
imgur.com/a/BPqn0

I do not think the fee is expensive for one person, but for a family of 4  I stick with the Caja hoping I do not use them much; I haven't so far, knock on wood. Sudden illnesses like a  cough, a fever or a headache the Caja quickly delivers generic medicine.

Do you go to the doctor that much?

if you get really seriously sick, go back to where you came from. If you can't there are a few private hospitals in SJ. One is affiliated with a Texas insurer medical system. The Caja system is not for you in that circumstance. Nuf said.

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