Teri - I was waiting to see if someone would response, but since no one has, I will put in my 2 cents which is probably what it is worth.
For one, are you just coming to live here for a bit or moving here permanently?
We live here permanently and have the Caja which I used one time for emergency which I have never done in the US for a flu but could not eat for 10 days and was very dehydrated and feeling weird. It cost me Zero and successfully treated.
My husband also had some blood tests done for nada.
Other than that, we use private dentists and doctors, but go only when necessary.
Let's just say, between how they treat you vs the US, it is a no nonsense approach and a lot cheaper. You can get what would usually be prescription meds just walking in farmacia and explaining your problem.
I had a squamous cancer place removed on the spot for $140 which included medicine, whereas in the US they would have had me go for several office visits and 'surrounded by a team of doctors' which they make it sound like they are doing you a favor. It would have cost a few thousand.
My husband had gum surgery that our Florida dentist confirmed it would have cost at least 2x the cost here.
We have heard many testimonies of people having things done here with a good result for a fraction of US cost. For instance a heart stent put in for $1800 vs $55,000!!!
We have no other insurance and could not afford in the US. I will continue to use the medical care here. The medical system in the US never helped me and I rarely went. Their charges and methods are enough to give me anyone a heart attack.
Where you live may affect whether you want to rely on Caja for all or your medical needs or keep international insurance coverage once you have residency. We have been residents for several years but have kept our international policy with WEA. The Caja hospital facilities are not that great in the Nicoya area but some are considered to be pretty good in San Jose. My wife had an emergency and went to a private hospital - it was quite expensive but we only had to pay our deductible. I use Caja for routine care and prescription drugs, but we use private facilities for critical healthcare.
Thank you very much for your reply. I think we will do that same to be on the safe side. I have another question, did you compare many insurance quotes before you settled on WEA? Was there a particular reason that you went with them? I am doing my homework now. Thank you for your time and input, it really is appreciated.
We previously had international health insurance with Pan American Heath Insurance in CR, but several factors caused us to look into other insurers: 1) our premiums had been going up, especially as we approached age 65; Pan Am did not offer an international policy that excluded the USA; we wanted to be able to transfer our coverage from Costa Rica to Nicaragua.
We looked into several insurers and spoke with an insurance broker in CR. We did some comparison of costs, although that was only one factor for us. I recommend asking for a rate sheet for premium changes with age, as most policies have higher costs as one gets older, and some rates increase faster than others. Also compare rates using different policy deductibles.
We both turned age 65 in the past couple of years and now have Medicare Parts A & B in the USA, so at age 65 we switched to a WEA policy that excludes coverage in the USA, for a significant premium savings.
We have lived in CR for 5 years but have now built a house in Nicaragua where our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren live - we are in the process of initiating a move to Nicaragua, so the ability to keep the same insurance coverage was important to us.
If you have pre-existing conditions, it may be beneficial to apply with more than one company to find out what exclusions may be included with the policy - and be aware that changing insurers will require new evaluations of pre-existing conditions.
We encountered some issues when filing claims with WEA last year, but in the long run they provided the necessary coverage for my wife's hospitalization in CR. So we will likely stick with them in the near future.
Brad - I just looked up Blue Cross for Costa Rica. They gave a list of the premiums according to age. About $3500 for women??? Is that by the month or WHAT???
And then at the bottom they have some kind of intimidating statement to get you to sign up about how expensive it is, and that you have to pay at the hospital even if you have the Caja.
I went to emergency a few months ago which I never have done in 40 yrs in the US - and it cost me ZERO.
Most of the time we use private doctor and dentist, but it is a lot less than ever spending money for a monthly insurance premium. I know personally people and testimonies of people who were treated at a small fraction of the cost and also myself have stories.
Unless you are one of those people, and there are some here, that pop prescription meds like popcorn, and are like a used car falling apart who is always running to the doctor and has umpteen health problems - even if those premium amounts are for the whole year, which I do not believe they are - you are better off doing Caja and out of pocket.
This intimidation from Blue Cross saying it is expensive paying for the Caja is absolute nonsense.
Where is the link to the info you posted "... they have some kind of intimidating statement to get you to sign up about how expensive it is, and that you have to pay at the hospital even if you have the Caja?"
Kohl - when I googled up'Blue Cross Costa Rica Health Insurance' there are several web sites many in Spanish, but the one I pulled up was in English with the premium amounts based on ages. And alongside ARCR giving their quote which 'saves' you money.
I will be 70 in Sept even though I pretend to still be 38 - and mine was $3854 or $2925 with ARCR discount.
I looked and looked and never saw the word 'monthly' or 'yearly' and even if it was yearly which I do not believe likely would be a heck of a lot more than the Caja, or even the total both my husband and I spent for caja and meds and private docs and dentist for the both of us for 3 years.
On the very bottom of this chart about Blue Cross in CR it says "
"Caja used to be very inexpensive, but not any more. Do your homework before starting your residency. Caja hospitals are open to all... but you will have to pay". Also a blurb about needing to wait for surgery and lines etc. which IS true.
They are insinuating that Blue Cross is cheaper? That in so many words you better sign up for this really expensive plan - because Caja is not cheap anymore. And better do your homework? If it is not intimidating it is deceptive manipulation IN MY OPINION.
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