By Ivo Henfling
When you move to Costa Rica, you will of course do so as legal as possible, which means, you will become a resident in Costa Rica while you keep your own countries’ passport.
This will give you a residency card, also called a cédula de residencia. To become a legal resident, you not only need to cut through all the red tape that becoming a resident in any country of the world will oblige you to, now you also need to become a member of the Costa Rica social security system, called Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social or CCSS.
You will, besides the CCSS, want to have a complementary medical insurance that I.N.S. (Instituto Nacional de Seguros) offers.
I.N.S. is the government owned insurance company that has had the insurance monopoly for many years and little by little other insurance companies like Mapfra and Assa are moving into the market. I.N.S. offers different medical insurances like Plan 16 Medical Plan, INS Medical Regional and INS Medical International. For many years I have held different international medical insurances like IHI Danmark or BUPA but a normal person cannot afford that anymore. I went over to INS Medical Regional years ago and I’m very happy not only about the cost of this medical insurance but also about the service they give, let me tell you more about it.
You need to be a resident of Costa Rica and between 18 and 65 years old. Once you are insured, INS will renew indefinitely so long as premium is paid. No medical examination is normally necessary to be able to apply for the insurance.
The cost of INS Medical Regional depends on your age, if you’re male or female and if you smoke or not. For an exact quote you need to have your GoDutch Realty agent connect you with a responsible insurance agent, but a 55 - 59 year old male will more or less pay $1,150/annually and a female $1,250/annually. A 65 -69 year old male and female more or less pay the same $1,700/annually.
INS has a network of providers (doctors, hospitals, labs, clinics and pharmacies), which includes the hospitals CIMA, Clínica Biblica, Católica and others, where you will pay less because they are bound to a price limitation imposed by INS, and you will get a lower deductible.
All medical expenses due to accidents, sickness or maternity are covered up to $200,000 per year. For persons over 69, the coverage is reduced to $60,000 per year. This insurance covers hospital care and ambulatory care. Cancer is covered in Costa Rica and in Central America. By means of surcharges you can increase the cancer coverage, and coverage for severe medical conditions, of an additional $200K.
The reasonable expenses incurred for in these situations during the first 24 hours after the accident took place will be completely covered. If hospitalization is required, it will be recognized in accordance with the conditions in the insurance agreement.
Prostheses that are surgically necessary are covered, with the exception of external and dental prostheses, up to a limit of $5,000.
Heart, lungs, pancreas, kidney, cornea, marrow bone and liver transplants are covered. The limit of this benefit is US$100,000 per year.
The expenses incurred inside and outside of Costa Rican territory are covered, for the treatment of an occupational accident or illness, or for any complication or situation resulting from this accident or illness.
The insured is granted an integral checkup of sight measurement, eye fundus and ocular pressure, covered at 100%, once a year, only through their network of registered doctors.
After the first annual renewal of the insurance, an annual general checkup is covered. A maximum of US$150 is covered through their network.
The insurance covers assistance services during all trips made outside Costa Rica or your permanent residence authorized by INS. This assistance will be only provided by their network with a limit of $10,000 per trip per insured.
When due to medical description, the insured needs to extend his/her stay abroad for his/her medical attention, hotel expenses will be covered up to $75 per day for a maximum of 10 days.
Burial expenses are covered as long as the death occurs by any accident or illness covered by the policy up to a limit of $2,500
If the insured presents any type of emergency abroad covered by the policy and it is determined that it is medically necessary to evacuate and/or repatriate the person to the closest or specialized hospital or attention center that can treat the ailment of the insured. Ground or air ambulance will be facilitated or a trip in a regular airline, through the most direct an appropriate rout. Repatriation means getting you back to Costa Rica.
If the insured dies as a consequence of an accident or illness covered by the policy while traveling abroad, coordination will be done in order to obtain government authorization for the repatriation of the mortal remains, assuming all expenses up to a limit of $2,500. This repatriation means getting your mortal remains back to Costa Rica.
By Ivo Henfling, your Costa Rica real estate agent, who tries to give you through these blogs as much information as he can to make moving to Costa Rica easier on you.
If you have any doubts or questions about your medical insurance options when you plan to live in Costa Rica, you can contact us or preferable post them below this blog and we will get you the necessary information or have an insurance agent contact you.
Of course, if you would buy a Costa Rica property from Ivo after that, it will be much appreciated.