According to experts from the World Bank no other country in the world has a healthcare system that encompasses what Costa Rica’s does. There are countries with more complex health care systems, like the Scandinavian countries, but none has the features of Costa Rica’s Caja del Seguro Social.
Our system has three main features which set it apart. The first is universal coverage that covers non-members as well as foreigners. The second is that the caja treats all kinds of people for any illness no matter how complex the condition is. The third distinguishing feature is that the caja doesn’t require a co-pay or deductible as in may countries. Anyone can receive the caja’s services whether they can pay or not making it a truly democratic institution.
The caja does have its problems. A lack of money translates into long lines and waiting lists for some procedures. Many individuals, private companies and even the Costa Rican government owe a lot money to the caja. They need to pay because the challenge now is to keep this far-reaching universal healthcare system solvent and functional for future generations of Costa Ricans and foreigners who depend on its services.