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Private Health Insurance for Expats with Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage

By Betsy Burlingame

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Summary: Are there any private plans that cover pre-existing conditions?

A future expat asked, "Having been to C.R. five times now, my wife and I are very seriously considering moving there - possibly Grecia but still open as to where. My question involves health insurance. I'm reasonably certain Caja covers pre-existing conditions but I've heard plenty about waiting months, if not years, for life-saving treatments. Are there any private plans that cover pre-existing conditions? I would really appreciate any help in this matter." One expat responded, " I have not found any private health insurance in CR that automatically covers pre-existing conditions. Each insurance company is different as to what they exclude. When you apply, you must provide medical records and test reports regarding existing medical conditions - they may allow some, may put a restriction on some for a year or two, and may permanently exclude some conditions. (My wife encountered some of each with two different insurers.) It is best to research policies and then apply at a couple of insurers to find out what they may exclude. As you noted, there are many stories about public health care for serious health issues as being lacking relative to private insurance. I use CAJA for routine care (with no restrictions on pre-existing conditions), but I prefer private health facilities for more serious health issues (especially outside of the San Jose area)."

Someone considering a move to Costa Rica wrote asking about international health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, "My needs for insurance are a for my wife who is in remission for cancer, as well as other pre-existing conditions that often time require care on a more quick turnaround. So she wouldn't be able to wait weeks, much less months/ years for treatments or specialists." A member replied, "Unfortunately, as you are aware, you would not be covered by CAJA until you are a legal resident, and then you would have to wait for an appointment with a specialist. Once you have legal residency, you can go to a private clinic for tests which is much quicker, and then present them to your CAJA doctor, who in turn contacts a specialist so your choices will be few. I know of no insurance company that will cover pre-existing conditions, especially cancer. I heard recently that the wait time for residency, at this time, is approaching 18 months from the initial application. The Hospital Metropolitan has recently purchased the private cancer clinic in San José. Unless you have enough funds to go private, I would really rethink about moving here. I know of many from the USA that have returned for cancer treatment. While it will be less expensive getting treated here, it still will be still be many thousands of $$$$$ using private facilities. Good luck."

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Costa Rica Legal Residency is an articulately bi-lingual boutique firm with 15 + years of successful experience and exclusive focus on Costa Rica Temporary and Permanent Residency, Renewals, Digital Nomad, and Citizenship. Located minutes from the Department of Immigration.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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Immigration Help Costa Rica
Immigration Help Costa Rica

Costa Rica Legal Residency is a bi-lingual boutique firm with 15 + years of successful experience on Residency, Renewals, Digital Nomad, and Citizenship.
Learn More

Immigration Help Costa RicaImmigration Help Costa Rica

Costa Rica Legal Residency is a bi-lingual boutique firm with 15 + years of successful experience on Residency, Renewals, Digital Nomad, and Citizenship.
Learn More

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