click to enable zoom
We didn't find any results
open map
View Roadmap Satellite Hybrid Terrain My Location Fullscreen Prev Next
Advanced Search
Your search results

Healthcare in Costa Rica: A Comprehensive Journey for Expats

Posted by Hannah Rico Fletcher on May 13, 2024

Understanding the healthcare system is critical when moving to a new nation. This is especially true in Costa Rica, which is well-known for its excellent healthcare system. Whether you intend to buy or sell property in Costa Rica, having a thorough awareness of the healthcare options available can make all the difference. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at Costa Rica’s healthcare system, covering both public and private facilities and offering useful information for anyone thinking about moving to this beautiful nation.

Healthcare picture in Costa Rica

Public Healthcare System (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, or CCSS)

The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) is Costa Rica’s public healthcare system, offering complete coverage to all citizens. With hospitals and clinics spread around the country, the CCSS has a significant edge in terms of accessibility.

The CCSS provides a wide range of services, from simple checkups to complicated procedures. This ensures that residents receive the care they require when they need it. The CCSS follows a primary health care model. Every Costa Rican is assigned to a local primary health care team that includes physicians, nurses, and community health workers, known as an equipo básico de atención integral en salud (EBAIS). These teams visit each household once a year to assess needs and direct resources to higher-risk locations.

The CCSS is available to all Costa Rican residents, including expats with appropriate financial means. However, it is crucial to remember that, while the CCSS provides free public healthcare, this is only for Costa Ricans who are most financially disadvantaged. This means that both locals with jobs and foreigners will have to pay for access to the public healthcare system. Residents and foreigners contribute to the CCSS, which helps fund the public healthcare system.

Private Healthcare System

Many Costa Ricans prefer the private healthcare system because it combines great services with freedom. Approximately 30% of the population chooses private healthcare, enticed by the promise of lower wait times and the ability to choose their own healthcare professionals.

Costa Rica’s private hospitals, like Clínica Bíblica, Clínica Católica, and CIMA, offer top-notch services and modern facilities. These internationally approved hospitals are outfitted with cutting-edge medical technology, guaranteeing that patients receive the best possible care.

The private healthcare system provides a diverse range of medical services, including specialised treatments and procedures. While the prices may be greater than in the public system, many people believe that the benefits, such as shorter wait times and the option to choose their own doctor, are worth the extra money. Furthermore, the expenses of medical operations and treatments are far lower than in countries such as the United States.

Private health insurance is not required for residents, however it is recommended while waiting for CAJA membership. Many residents choose a combination of public and private health insurance to meet their healthcare needs. The private healthcare system is an excellent solution for those who want faster access to medical services and a greater range of doctors. It’s also a popular choice for expats and people who prefer to receive medical operations and treatments in private settings.

Quality of Healthcare

Costa Rica is world-renowned for its high-quality healthcare. According to the World Health Organization’s 2000 report, Costa Rica has the 36th greatest healthcare system, one spot ahead of the United States. Furthermore, the United Nations ranks Costa Rica’s public health system among the top 20 in the world, and first in Latin America.

The population’s health is remarkable, with a life expectancy of 80.8 years, which is somewhat higher than the OECD average. Preventable mortality is comparable to the OECD average, although treated mortality is slightly higher. Risk factors such as smoking prevalence and air pollution mortality are lower than the OECD average, although obesity is more prevalent.

Costa Rica excels at providing high-quality treatment. There are fewer unnecessary admissions per 100,000 population than the OECD average. However, the percentage of women screened for breast cancer is lower than the OECD average.

Access to care is excellent, with 91% of the population receiving a core range of services. Furthermore, 70% of people were satisfied with access to quality healthcare, which is better than the OECD average.

Emergency Services

In the event of an emergency in Costa Rica, rest assured that assistance is only a phone call away. The primary emergency number in Costa Rica is 911, which covers a wide range of emergency organizations such as the Red Cross, Fire Fighters, National Emergency Commission, National Intoxication Center, Civil Guard, Police Patrols, Transit Police, and the Judicial Investigation Bureau.

Dial 117 to contact the police department in an emergency involving crime or public safety. In the event of a fire or the need for immediate rescue help, call 118 to contact the fire department and rescue teams. If you are in a rural region and need emergency assistance, phone 127 to contact the rural police. For medical crises requiring quick assistance, phone 128 to contact the Red Cross.

These emergency services are intended to offer quick aid during times of disaster. Whether you have a medical emergency, a fire, or a safety concern, these services are quickly ready to assist you. New and old residents need to acquaint themselves with these emergency numbers. Having this information at your fingertips can make a huge difference in an emergency.


Navigating a new country’s healthcare system can be challenging. However, with the proper information and insight, things become much easier. Costa Rica has a sophisticated healthcare system, both public and private, that meets the demands of its citizens and expats. Whether you’re thinking about moving to Costa Rica or already live there, you should be aware of the accessible healthcare services. Costa Rica’s healthcare system guarantees that everyone has access to the treatment they require. This system includes public hospitals, private clinics, general practitioners, and specialist services.

Remember, healthcare is an important consideration when making real estate purchases. A detailed understanding of the healthcare system not only ensures your health, but also increases the value of your investment. So, whether you’re buying or selling property in Costa Rica, make healthcare amenities a priority.

This finishes our thorough guide on navigating healthcare facilities in Costa Rica of RE/MAX. We hope this information is useful to you.

  • Advanced Search

    More Search Options

Compare Listings