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Health Insurance

Health insurance, especially inexpensive health insurance is something we all seem to be looking for and have discussed several times on the Expat.com Forum.

San Ramon had mentioned that he had seen an inexpensive health insurance policy that was offered at some of the private health care providers in the town of San Ramon.  I checked into several and found what I feel is the best one.  It’s odd how cheap it is but I’m using it and it is legitimate.

I went to Jackson Memorial in San Ramon to see a general physician.  After talking about some of the medical procedures that I should have for my age, and then whining about the costs, he suggested that I check into their health insurance plan called Jackson’s Care.

I met with their representative, Yahaira Calderon, (she did approve of my providing her information), and we went over what they offer.  Truthfully I felt like maybe it was a scam.  Simply put, it’s too cheap for what you get. 

The cost of the insurance for a Costa Rica resident who is between the ages of 59 and 84 years  is ¢7,827 ($14.00) per person.  It gives you a 50%-60% discount on all procedures.   One of the procedures I was told I should get is a colonoscopy.  (Yeah, can’t wait 😳)  Their regular cost is ¢180,000 ($318.00).  With the insurance there is a 50% discount.  So I’ll pay ¢90,000 instead of the ¢180,000. ...with a monthly cost of only ¢7,800, you can see why I was skeptical.  If they refer you to a hospital, the same discounts will apply.   The insurance is also available to non-residents for the same price but it has to be paid annually.

The insurance covers most procedures and can be used at a variety of private medical providers throughout the country - 54 different clinics.

The doctor’s with Jackson also work with the CAJA, so if they prescribe something that the CAJA provides, you don’t have to wait for weeks/months to get a CAJA appointment and then spend hours in line to see a CAJA doctor.

If you are interested the person I met with speaks very good English if you need.  Her email address is yahaira.calderon[at]jacksoncare.net.  (Again, she did approve my providing this information online.)

For those with the half empty glasses, no, I am not promoting this, I am not a sales rep, I am not being paid, etc., etc., etc.  I'm just trying to help.   🤓

- Expat Dave

A great article put together by Retireforlessincostarica  on this healthcare provider that seems to offer what many expats would want.

Thank you for great Info..NB .  The email in the article, when I tried it , said was not valid  but  I  sent one to     costarica[at]redbridge.com      I changed the cc to .com.

The email  went out... hopefully to them..Thanks again  great post  K.
Has ANYONE actually USED this Company ? We must  admit it sounds almost "To good to be true "  ..hopefully not...

Update on Jackson Memorial & Jackson Care Insurance

I finally went to the doctor at Jackson Memorial in San Ramon, Alajuela for a physical and blood test.  The doctor met with me for at least 45 minutes.  The exam consisted of blood pressure, weight, and all the other fun things with a physical.   I in no way did I feel rushed.  With the insurance coverage, my portion was ¢10,000 ($18.00).  Yes, eighteen dollars.  My personal opinion is that the quality of care and knowledge of the doctor exceeds that of physicians I've seen in the U.S.

I had  blood drawn the next morning and had the results that same afternoon.  They tested for pretty much anything I can think of - cholesterol, kidney function, blood glucose, PSA, blood count, etc., It was very comprehensive.  The report was three full pages long.  The cost of the blood test was ¢31,000 ($55.00).

I had a follow up with the doctor the day after the blood test to go over the results.  He spent another 15-20 minutes with me.  There was no additional cost for this follow up/consultation.

As far as the cost of it all, I was very happy and would say impressed.  The office is clean and new.

The only downside to the Jackson Insurance is the way you have to make an appointment.  First you call the doctor's office to make the appointment.  Then you have to call the insurance carrier to inform them of the appointment and who it is with.  Not a big deal, just seemed redundant.  And, after stumbling through with my version of español, I discovered that they do speak English.  🙄

Oh, and I was told that my results were that of a twenty year old and to continue living the life style that I am!  Really, I didn't pay him extra to say that! 

- Expat Dave

P.S.  Next, the colonoscopy.   :whistle:

Thanks for this helpful post on an important topic! (And congrats on the good report, Expat Dave!) Do you know whether "pre-existing conditions" are accepted as insurable in this policy and/or in other good good health insurance policies that people know of? Looking forward to more information from those "in the know"!

Thanks Dave for a great update!

I tried several ways of tyong yaharicalderon's email but no Luck Is there no @ in it
PLEASE be so kind as to send us all the correct usable address.The one on your first post does not seem to be valid although I tried it many ways :(  (such as adding an @ here or there )
Thank you
Pebbs

Good report, expatDave!

MNRose :

Thanks for this helpful post on an important topic! (And congrats on the good report, Expat Dave!) Do you know whether "pre-existing conditions" are accepted as insurable in this policy and/or in other good good health insurance policies that people know of? Looking forward to more information from those "in the know"!

Yes, preexisting conditions are accepted.  They don't even ask.  They are aware of my TBI, etc. and have treated issues related to the same. 

- Expat Dave

pebs :

Thank you for great Info..NB .  The email in the article, when I tried it , said was not valid  but  I  sent one to     costarica[at]redbridge.com      I changed the cc to .com.

The email  went out... hopefully to them..Thanks again  great post  K.
Has ANYONE actually USED this Company ? We must  admit it sounds almost "To good to be true "  ..hopefully not...

I contacted Jackson's Care and they confirmed that the following email should be used and confirmed that I could post their email address:

jacksoncare2017[at]gmail.com

(The [at] symbols should be removed and an ampersat, aka: 'at symbol', or use "shift 2")   :)

- Expat Dave

Just a note regarding this: the policy is not insurance, it is a discount program which gives you discounts on gp, specialists, xrays, blood tests and etc.
Much like a dental "insurance" plan in the U.S. if you've ever had those - which offer discounts on procedures and visits etc, but you end up paying more than you'd pay if it were a good "insurance" plan.

Additionally depending on your age and the plan you choose, there is a limited number of times per year on all these things. If you're over 59 you get 6 general practitioner visits per year and 3 specialist visits per year. Each visit is for one malady so if you go back for the same problem (i.e. it's unsolved, they're still seeing you for the same problem) then even the 2nd or 3rd visit counts as only 1.

You get discounts on a certain # of lab tests and xrays and I think that is 60% but don't quote me.

If you want to see a specialist ask if they have one available before signing up because they do not necessarily have all the specialists available to you that are listed.

All in all it's a worthwhile policy but the reality does not necessarily match the brochure. That said, I do recommend it. Just know that it's not run with the efficiency or expectations of a U.S. discount plan - and even those are not perfect by any means.

samramon :

Just a note regarding this: the policy is not insurance, it is a discount program which gives you discounts on gp, specialists, xrays, blood tests and etc.
Much like a dental "insurance" plan in the U.S. if you've ever had those - which offer discounts on procedures and visits etc, but you end up paying more than you'd pay if it were a good "insurance" plan.

Additionally depending on your age and the plan you choose, there is a limited number of times per year on all these things. If you're over 59 you get 6 general practitioner visits per year and 3 specialist visits per year. Each visit is for one malady so if you go back for the same problem (i.e. it's unsolved, they're still seeing you for the same problem) then even the 2nd or 3rd visit counts as only 1.

You get discounts on a certain # of lab tests and xrays and I think that is 60% but don't quote me.

If you want to see a specialist ask if they have one available before signing up because they do not necessarily have all the specialists available to you that are listed.

All in all it's a worthwhile policy but the reality does not necessarily match the brochure. That said, I do recommend it. Just know that it's not run with the efficiency or expectations of a U.S. discount plan - and even those are not perfect by any means.

I agree with everything San Ramon is stating above with the exception of specialists.  This may be the case with any particular office; however, keep in mind that there are many different facilities to choose from throughout the country.  So you may have to travel to another location to see a certain specialist.

I'm using Jackson Care at this time for a skin discoloration that is now being questioned.  The only conclusion at this time is that it is a malignant growth.  I needed to see a specialist, dermatologist, and fortunately there is one in the San Ramon location.  The cost of the first appointment with the dermatologist, including a biopsy and testing was ¢32,000 ($57.00).

With the results of the first biopsy, they wanted to do a much more in-depth study so it cost me another ¢152,000 ($270.00).  The results will take from 8-16 days.  Either way, I know it's less than what it would cost in the States and I'm very satisfied with their professionalism.  If it turns out to be anything serious, I'll update how it goes and the costs associated with treatment.

Followup visits to go over the results with my general physician and the dermatologist will be at no additional cost.  They also take their time with you and put no pressure on whatsoever to rush you out.

If this does turn out to be something more serious, I will be updating with a new post about the care received to address this issue two years ago with two separate CAJA doctors who said it was only a minor fungus....

- Expat Dave

Hope this ends up being less serious than you imagine.

Thank you guys for the info.

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