Insurance Coverage in Costa Rica

INS usually offers most of its insurance to the public. However, you still have the option to purchase insurance offered by other international insurance companies. There’s a possibility that these companies offer more health insurance coverage than the INS. As a foreigner, you can always avail of such because no matter where you are located in the world, you are always covered by international insurance which could go as high as $5 million in lifetime limit.

If you want to buy health insurance from a company based in Costa Rica, then you will want to choose between CCSS and INS. Also, most, if not all hospitals in Costa Rica recognize these insurance companies.

Here’s an overview of each insurance package.

INS: The company provides medical insurance to the public. The limit has been set to nearly $18,000 a year and does not cover pre-existing conditions and medical check-ups. If there’s a need for eyeglasses, dental work and cosmetic surgery, the insurance will cover it, provided that this need was imminent due to an accident.

Basically, about 70 percent of insurance coverage goes to the purchase of prescription drugs, doctor visits, medical examinations, treatment and payment of doctors. The patient has a free hand to choose his or her doctor. Annual premiums run between $500 and $1,000 for men ages 59 and above, while it will be between $850 and $1,300 for women. As for the younger population, the rate is about $300. 

Intensive care unit rates in Costa Rica can go as high as $3,000 and with an annual benefit of $18,000, this means that the insurance runs out in just 6 days. In your case, as a foreigner, it would be best that you have another internationally-covered insurance provider to make up for the other days that INS could not cover.

CCSS: This is a government-sponsored medical insurance plan. Most Costa Ricans who can’t afford the INS coverage get this. Government employers are mandated to pay for this coverage. The coverage is of the same scope as INS. However, the patient does not have the opportunity to choose his or her doctor. CCSS assigns the doctor and hospital to the patient. Decent care is provided but you will eventually endure long queues.

Monthly payments can run between $35 and $60. Therefore, it’s basically the primary choice for middle to lower class families.

• Auto insurance

You will be paying for a third-party insurance coverage once your get your license plate for your own vehicle. In fact, once you renew your license, you are also renewing the insurance of your vehicle. The rate is relatively low but you can always buy greater coverage from INS (such as insurance for fire, accidents and theft, among others).

• Homeowners insurance

If forcible entry has been discovered in your home resulting in loss of possessions, then the insurance company will cover the supposed amount of the stolen items. You will need to pay the annual rate of almost 2 percent of the entire value of your home property. This could be expensive especially if you have a lot of valuables in your home.

There’s also insurance coverage that protects your property from natural disasters like earthquake or storms or unavoidable incidents, such as water damage and accidental fire caused by neighbor’s properties.

• Life insurance

This is certainly one of the most important types of insurance coverage that you need to have. INS Life insurance currently offers this program in dollar rates. Before, the rates were set at local currency which caused a lot of problems due to sudden inflation adjustments. Double indemnity is given for accidental death. INS coverage may differ with international insurance companies that over wider benefits.

Of course, as much as possible you wouldn’t want to avail of these benefits if you could help it. No one would want an untoward incident to happen although it still pays to be careful.