Expat Healthcare Advice for Quepos
To use the socialized medical system
in the area, you do not need to be a resident of Costa Rica (Residente). The hospital will accept all patients. It is not a large hospital and some procedures will be referred to either the closest national care hospital or one of the private hospitals in the Central Valley. However, there are many private care physicians in the area who will treat you and/or make referrals to more specialized care in other parts of the country. The local hospital has an emergency center.
Emergency Medical Care in Quepos
The closest hospital is on the outskirts of Quepos and is named Max Teran Hospital
. There is an emergency room and the quality of care is very good. As it is a national care (part of the socialized medical care system in Costa Rica) you will not find the same amount of services as in a top of the line private care facility in the states. However, the staff is professional and caring. Be aware, not all staff members will speak English. Hospital Max Teran is a public hospital but accepts patients who are not in the public health care system. All are treated the same with the exception that a person on the national care system is not required to pay at the time of discharge. If the staff feels your condition is better treated at another facility, they will discuss this with you and make recommendations on other options available to you.
Expat Health Insurance
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Quality of Healthcare in Surrounding Area
Periodially the area has specialized medicine physicians that treat local residents and they arrive generally once per month at a private care physician's office in Quepos. This is a good option for general procedures of dermatology, obstetrics, etc. For more options and specialized care, the Central Valley of CR
is the best option. There are multitudes of physicians in the Central Valley specializing in every aspect of health care. The quality of care is exceptional and if you choose to pay for this through private pay, the cost is substantially less than the US. From the Quepos
area, this región is approximately 2.5-3 hours from Quepos. However, Quepos has a public airstrip with several flights per day and it is not uncommon to fly to the Central Valley for consultation. The flight is 20 minutes in duration.
Common prescriptions are readily available at the many pharmacies in the area. (farmacia) Generally you will not need a prescription for anything other than extreme narcotics. In the event you need a higher level of prescription, a physician will write this for you after a consultation and appraisal of your health. There is no rule of thumb that all prescriptions are less/more or the same pricing you may have experienced in the states. Some are substantially less! And others more. If you are on the public healthcare system (national CAJA)
, prescriptions are free and are dispensed at the public hospital after a consultation with the physician associated with the hospital. There is no charge for the physician's appointment at the public hospital as long as you are a legal resident.
Expat Health Insurance in Costa Rica
After 17 years in Costa Rica, my experience has been that national public healthcare insurance via the national system is very good. The monthly payment is based on your declared income at the time of your application for residency in Costa Rica. If you do not feel comfortable using the national system, you can purchase private insurance at rates less than the US with varying degrees of deductibles. There are many bi-lingual agents registered in Costa Rica to help you. Additionally, consider private care at your cost. A private care physician office call is generally under $50 and many procedures are substantially less than you would pay in the states. I have heard many times that the cost of an entire procedure here in Costa Rica is the same as the deductible in the states. Many people use this information to their advantage and visit Costa Rica for a medical vacation!