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Healthcare in Costa Rica > Costa Rica Healthcare & Health Insurance FAQ > Does CAJA cover the cost of all medications?

Does CAJA cover the cost of all medications?

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Many prescription medications are covered under CAJA.

"If you are enrolled in the CAJA (socialized medicine), prescriptions are free at the local clinic after being prescribed by the CAJA physician. Sometimes generic forms of the medicine are available. If you are on a very specialized prescription, you may need to purchase this at a local pharmacy (farmacia) and you would be required to incur the expense but generally most medicine is available thru the CAJA. If you choose to purchase your prescriptions outside of the CAJA system, there are at least ten farmacias in Jaco and the surrounding area. You will not need a prescription for most any medicine with the exception of intense narcotics. If you need something of that degree, a private care physician can prescribe them for you. Some prescriptions are higher costing than the US such as Allegra, simple asprin, etc. Generally speaking if you can purchase it stateside in a bottle of (for example) 365 pills it is less expensive to do so as packaging here is by individual blister pack pills. Other meds like Lyrica and Eliquis are dramatically less expensive than the states. Resident discounts are generally offered in the amount of 10% at farmacias for local residents," said one expat in a report about healthcare and health insurance in Playa Jaco.

"I was speaking with a friend yesterday, who was previously diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, and the oncologist at H.Mexico explained that the medication that they recommend to treat this and some other cancers, is Tarcevaor or its genetic equivalent, Erlotinib. However, CAJA does not provide this and the cost will be US $5,000 for a minimum of 3 treatments."

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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Updated On: Apr 27, 2019

First Published: Apr 27, 2019

Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Costa Rica from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Healthcare in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is has both public and private healthcare systems. When you become a resident, you must enroll in the public healthcare system (CAJA). Many expats use the public system for routine healthcare and have private expat health insurance for specialists, surgeries and emergencies.

Costa Rica is has both public and private healthcare systems. When you become a resident, you must enroll in the public healthcare system (CAJA). Many expats use the public system for routine health...

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