Positive experience with Costa Rica healthcare

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    I would just like to pass along that my wife and I had our second very positive experience with the healthcare here in Costa Rica. I have had a bump on my upper arm for 4 or 5 years now. I am not one to rush to the doctor for every little thing. Yes, I know that bumps can be serious. We stopped in to ask the Doctor to take a quick look at it and she said right away it was nothing serious and if I wanted she could remove it. We made an appointment for today and the doctor removed a grape sized cyste from my arm. It was something along the line of a clogged sweat glan and was nothing serious, as she had previously said. I had also taken a very hard fall in the ocean yesterday landing in the surf on my neck and slamming my head into my forearm. My neck was such this morning I could not move it to the right at all and barely to the left. I recieved a shot for anti-inflmatory for the neck, a shot of anti-biotics for the minor surgery on my arm for the cyste, the shot of litocain for numbing, four pills for pain for the next couple of days, a one week prescription of anti-biotics, and a one week prescription of anti-biotic cream for washing the sutures. The entire bill came to 28,000 colones……roughly less than $56 US. In the States the scenario would have been, initial visit, some poking around my arm, then referred to a dermatologist, The dermotolgist would want to run several test, then refer me to another associate for further exam, where the new specialist would want to run one or two more test before having me return to have the same cyste removed. The total bill from start to finish, probably in the range of $1000 if not more, especially after paying what would probably have amounted to $500 just for the shots and prescriptions. We love the treatment we have recieved living here in Costa Rica and have a lot of respect for the clinic staff in Parrita.


    I, too, can report very good treatment from the docs at CIMA Hosipital in Escazu. I’m diabetic and my endocrinologist there takes a lot to time and pays a lot of attention to my needs. Wednesday, when I saw him, I mentioned having a very small wound on my toe. He immediately referred me to a wound specialist who saw me within half an hour, prescribed soaks, ointment and an oral antibiotic, and instructed me to call him on Sunday(!) to report how it’s healing. That’s some service.


    What type of health plan have you all enrolled in? The state plan, one of the private plans or no plan at all? I know from what I have read that the private plans do not cover pre-x conditions. I can’t find any specifics on pre-x, such as waiting periods and what they consider pre-x.
    Thanks, Debbie


    We are enrolled in the CAJA plan, the one provided by the Costa Rican Social Security system. It’s the only one that provides care for pre-existing conditions. The plans from INS do not.

    A pre-existing condition is just that, one that existed (was diagnosed) prior to your acceptance by the plan. The INS agent we consulted said there is no exception, no exemption, no waiting period, no nuthin’. If you’re diagnosed prior to enrollment, it’s not covered.

    I should note that my care to date has been provided outside the CAJA system. That is, I’m paying cash for my care. I just haven’t taken the time to establish my relationship with the local primary care clinic and learn to handle the bureaucracy. Probably says more about me than the CAJA system.

    Edited on Apr 07, 2006 16:49

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