Alternative to health insurance

by Kenny
(Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada)

Reading your blog with interest as new RV travellers and frequent travelers to Costa Rica. Retired Canadians without health coverage we looked at insurance and declined it due to exclusions and deductibles. What we have found since 2001 in Costa Rica is that the health system including dental here is excellent, accessible and affordable. In 2014 and 2015 our travel costs were completely covered by having dental work done compared to having the work done in Canada. For example an implant here runs around $900 compared to $ 4000 in Canada. It does not take long to pay for the trip. We have used both the local government clinics and also the high end private clinics with English speaking staff immediate appointments and excellent results. The country has an amazing excellent social health system for all and a parallel private system for those able to pay. Canada could learn a lot from that! Our experience has been that physicians and equipment are equal or better than in Canadian clinics with no wait times. Our out of pocket costs since 2001 have been less than what we would have paid for one months health insurance including the cost of drugs, lab tests and consultations. We have travelled and used health insurance in other foreign locations but feel that it is not required in Costa Rica. The care is so well recognized that Medical Tourism here is a major industry. Maybe something to consider.

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Feb 06, 2016
I think you're right!
by: Marianne

We're just figuring that out! Perhaps we didn't need to purchase extended health insurance for this trip after all - medical procedures seem to cost less than in our home province and therefore would be totally reimbursed by our provincial plan.

So far, we've heard conflicting stories from expats down here about the costs and level of care in Costa Rica - I'm beginning to think it may be Canadians vs Americans - whether they consider it reasonable or not. I'm pretty sure there's an inexpensive annual health plan available here but it seems not everyone we meet has bought into it. Not sure why.

And we've heard that dental is far less expensive, too. Lots to learn while we're may take more than one trip to figure it out.

Thanks for bringing this up important consideration.

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