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Chinatown in San Jose, Costa Rica

Expats Talk about Health Insurance and Healthcare in San Jose, Costa Rica

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Apr 12, 2023

Summary: San Jose, Costa Rica is home to several hospitals and clinics, including Hospital Mexico, Hospital San Juan de Dios, Hospital La Catolica, and Clinica Biblica. Emergency services in San Jose are generally reliable, and ambulances can be called by dialing 911. The quality of medical care in San Jose is generally comparable to that of the United States, though some specialized treatments may not be available.

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How are healthcare services San Jose?

When we asked expats and global nomads about the quality of medical care in San Jose, they replied:

"San Jose offers a wide range of healthcare services, including both public and private hospitals and clinics. The public healthcare system is managed by the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), which provides free or low-cost medical care to all citizens and legal residents. Private healthcare facilities are also available, offering a higher level of service and more specialized care. In addition, there are a number of specialized medical centers, such as the Costa Rican Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery, which provide specialized care for neurological conditions. San Jose also has a number of pharmacies, providing access to medications and other health-related products," said one expat living in San Jose.

"If you're a resident you pretty much have to enroll in the Caja, the public health system, and if you aren't, you can't. So there's that. Whether or not you enroll in the Caja, if you have the funds, private insurance is nice. INS, the state insurance company, sells a pretty good policy for not too much money, and (ahem) it's darn near customary not to mention pre-existing conditions on the application. After a year or so INS doesn't care, and it does pay. Blue Cross and others have now entered the market, but I doubt they're as lax as INS. Of course, you can always pay out-of-pocket for private at prices about a third of US prices, but even a third adds up. Me, I'm only in the Caja now, since I let my INS policy lapse, but that's because I'm poor. People of some affluence usually do both--private for ease and comfort, public as a backup. Oh, in the Caja plan on speaking Spanish. Most Caja docs will know a little English and a few will be fluent, but the system operates in Spanish and you can't count on anyone speaking English. In the private system almost everybody speaks English," mentioned one expat in San José.

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What are medical services in San Jose like?

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Chinatown in San Jose, Costa Rica

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