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Baby Boomers Move to Costa Rica for High Quality & Low Cost Healthcare [VIDEOS]

September 6th, 2013
[VIDEOS] Baby Boomers are drawn to the high quality medical care, which is considered extremely cheap compared to U.S. healthcare costs.

Baby Boomers Move to Costa Rica
for High Quality & Low Cost Healthcare

Baby Boomers are drawn to the high quality medical care of Costa Rica, which is considered extremely cheap compared to U.S. healthcare costs.

Baby Boomers can join Costa Rica's Socialized Healthcare system called the 'CCSS', by paying only a small monthly fee - based on income.

With this plan we have access to all of its hospitals, clinics and services. It covers pre-existing conditions, prescriptions, doctor visits, hospitalization and dental and eye care and there is no dollar limit to annual coverage. Cost is as little as $60 a month.

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Most Baby Boomer retirees opt for the medical insurance offered by the government's insurance company the National Insurance Institute (Instituto de Seguro Nacional) or 'INS'. Everyone is eligible to apply, including permanent residents, pensionados and even tourists. This insurance is valid with over 200 affiliated doctors, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies in the private sector.

The INS Medical Policy covers expenses resulting from illness, accidents, hospitalization, office visits, lab work, medicines and medical costs in foreign countries. Most surgical procedures are covered 100 percent. You pay a small deductible for office visits, labs, medicines and treatments. If you seek medical services not affiliated with INS, you have to pay up front. You then submit a claim to INS and will be reimbursed in a few weeks.

Doctors in Costa Rica take time with patients to answer questions and listen - almost all know English well. Doctors usually give you their office; home and cell phone numbers as well as pager number. It is not unusual for doctors to call their patients at home to follow-up on care and medications, and they will make house calls. Doctors here are much less interested in making a profit than serving the people. Considering there are no high malpractice premiums to pay, physicians can make a good living without charging exorbitant prices.

If you have to enter a private hospital, costs will generally be well under a $100 a day. This includes a spacious private room with bathroom and cable TV with English channels. Private and semi-private rooms often have an extra bed or sofa bed so a relative may spend the night, if necessary. A good private specialist usually charges between $30 and $40 for each visit, although some doctors charge a little more and others a little less.

I personally spoke to a Baby Boomer couple that has been living in Costa Rica for over 10 years. They told me that Costa Rica has U.S. Trained Dr’s with state of the Art Hospitals and Medical Facilities. When they first moved to Costa Rica, private insurance cost $1400 annually for the two of them covering most of our medical costs and prescriptions. This meant represented state of the art care when hospitalized. When she was hospitalized a couple of years ago, her insurance covered her private hospital room with a flat screen TV, dining menu options and a companion bed for her husband to stay with her. While their insurance has increased slightly as they have aged, she believed that the healthcare in Costa Rica unbeatable.

Healthcare Concerns in Costa Rica

There is a network of 29 hospitals throughout Costa Rica that provides modern, reliable medical service. Doctors at these hospitals usually receive their initial training in Costa Rica and obtain more advanced training in their specialty in other countries. There are also more than 250 small clinics scattered throughout Costa Rica that provide quality health care even in the remotest parts of the country.

In Costa Rica, pharmacists are permitted to prescribe medicines as well as administer on-the-spot injections. They are also available to answer your questions and give free medical advice about less complex conditions. In general, Costa Rican pharmacists usually will give you the correct advice and appropriate medication. This can save you a trip to the doctor's office.

Pharmacies are numerous in Costa Rica and they stock most standard medicines available in Europe, Canada and the United States. In general, the cost of most medicines is lower than in the U.S. Most drugs requiring a prescription in North America are freely available over the counter in any Costa Rican farmacia.

Although the Costa Rican government funds homes for the elderly,  Baby Boomers are probably better off in a private facility. Full-service custodial health care is available in Costa Rica for the elderly at a very low cost. Care for less independent senior citizens is only about $1,500 per month, which offers comprehensive medical care and assistance with all medicines, lab work, dental care, physical therapy, rehabilitation and special diets.

BOTTOM LINE: Baby Boomer Retirees will find the healthcare system in Costa Rica of be a huge plus in our decision to live outside the United States.

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Article by:
Dean Burns
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