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Expanding expatriate healthcare in Costa Rica

Its good news for expats wanting to move to Costa Rica as free health care and medication has expanded to include Guanacastem, located in the north west of the area.

Costa Rica is known for its high quality health attention and affordable medication. In fact, it is not unusual for foreigners to set aside a few days or a week to visit the area for dental procedures, optical examinations, general health check-ups, or even to buy certain medications or medical equipment.

On top of financial and home-care worries, expatriate medical insurance is one of the most common stresses that an expat has to deal with when moving to another country. This will not be the case for foreigners living in Costa Rica who are just as entitled to free medical treatment and free medication through a healthcare system called La Caja. It is a universal and an all-inclusive healthcare system that doesn’t deny services to expats.

Expatriates will have to abide by a few terms in order to gain free medical attention. Expatriates who intend to become permanent residents are expected to make active monthly contributions which are calculated and based on a certain percentage of their wages.

Expats can also obtain temporary residency in the country under a number of categories such as matrimonial based immigration and work-base placement. Regardless of the reason to move, all expats must register with La Caja and make active contributions. As a rough calculation, for an unemployed person, a monthly payment would total around 15 pounds.

Under certain conditions, medical care is always free regardless of contribution and registration. For example, life-saving emergency medical attention and care will be given to children regardless of their immigration status. In their 2000 survey, The World Health Report ranked Costa Rica 36th for their quality of care.

Expatriate healthcare is at the forefront in Costa Rica but expat medical insurance is still advised as a back-up plan, especially if the intended visit is to be lengthy.

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