I am 53 years old and have just gone through the process of applying for private health insurance. There are two types of health care in Costa Rica. One is socialized medicine. All residents of Costa Rica are required to pay into what is called “caja” (KAH-hah) insurance. This runs me about $25 per month. This is the government subsidized health insurance in Costa Rica.
I have written about my one week stay in one of the caja hospitals. I don’t recommend it. Its not so much that the practitioners aren’t good, its the overall structure. I think that you definitely want your health providers to be mindful of the fact that if they don’t offer a good service, then someone else will and they will get the business.
The second type of healthcare here is very similar to what you get in other countries, and what we refer to as “private” insurance. Up until recently. the Costa Rican government was the exclusive provider of health insurance. This has changed and there are now some international health insurance providers here, and I hear that they are pretty good. I don’t have any experience with them so I can’t detail how they work or their value.
This article is just about the private insurance that is offered through INS (Instituto Nacional de Seguros), the Costa Rica government’s health insurance branch.
Since I am so old, I had to get a number of health exams to see if I qualify for the insurance. I still don’t know if I do qualify, but if the response on the part of the examining doctors is any indication, I should get in no problem. It is interesting that this past May 11th marked the second anniversary of a violent criminal event that almost killed me and left me blind in my left eye.
One of the testing doctors used the word “perfecto” about 5 times during the general examination of my overall level of health. She said that if I didn’t have that one, life threatening bugger on my record, I would have a perfecto health record. So, it will be interesting to see if I get approved. For you folks out there that are wondering how to be middle aged and have a couple doctors say say “perfecto” when they examine you, I’ll pass my secrets along in a minute.
So, 53 years old, in perfect health with the exception of this small, life threatening incident two years ago – $1,600 per year. I can pay it monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or once a year. I’m not sure that the coverage is as far as deductibles go, I’ll post that information when I find out. The coverage is for up to $200,000 of insuring per year. You can get an additional coverage if you like. It’ll set you back another $160 per year and it adds another $200,000 to the coverage and is specifically for cancer and other such catastrophic incidents.
I decided against the additional coverage, despite its low cost. I spent a month in CIMA hospital and was in a drug induced coma for 2 weeks. That visit included multiple medical specialists, amazing facial reconstruction surgery that left nine plates in my head, a plethora of x-rays, and a good steady flow of pain meds and antibiotics. My bill came to $110,000. So, I’m not sure what you’d have to do to run the bill up to over $200,000.
I’ll post another article if and when I get accepted.
Ben’s Health Secrets
As a reader of the Guys in the Zone blog, you get the dubious pleasure of my secrets on how to be in perfecto health.
I have been into fitness all of my adult life. We have always had a home gym of the Olympic weight variety with vertical leg press machines, and cables for low rows, squat rack, bench, etc. I have been involved and invested in my health. I thought that I was in shape when I went to my first kick boxing boot camp here on Dominical beach – boy was I ever humbled.
Aside from attaining to new levels of exhausting, never before achieved, I also released more endorphins than I previously knew possible. The point here isn’t to discuss how to kick box, but simply to say that I am in the best condition of my life, and I credit this activity with this data point. Oh, but there is one more thing –
Vitamix is the key here. I brought one down from the States during a visit to my family in Davis. If you don’t yet have one, or worse yet, don’t know what one is – a Vitamix is a blender on steroids. I mix up a drink every morning that has the following ingredients:
- ginger root
- turmeric root
- frozen pieces of pineapple
- frozen bananas (2 of ’em)
- 2 apples
- 1/4 cup of ground up oat meal
- 2 heaping tablespoons of ground up flax
I will also add mango, tamarindo and other fruits when they are available. This drink gets me through every morning of my life with no hunger and is slowly converting me into something of a super hero. I am almost to the point of flying, almost.
The best way to buy a Vitamix is to go to my website and buy one there. There are a couple of reasons why this is the best way to buy – one is that it appears to be the best price around. The other is that I make a commission if you do. Buy a Vitamix from Ben: Go to www.blenditraw.com.
In conclusion, getting basic health insurance in Costa Rica is easy. It’s the getting healthy part that takes some doing.