There are basically two options here for receiving medical care. The public system known as the caja, short for Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. It offers socialized medicine and does not exclude you for preexisting conditions. Anyone who wants to be a legal residency of Costa Rica must join the Caja. You can receive adequate care but lines are long, waiting rooms jam-packed, a lot of medicines are generic or not available and you can wait years for surgery or treatments.
Private insurance plans like INS can be costly depending on one’s age and do not cover those with prior medical conditions. The main advantage to this plan is that you can choose your own doctor or specialist and there is basically no waiting time as in the case of the caja. You can use this type of insurance at any of San José’s excellent private hospitals like the Clínica Bíblica, Cima or Clínica Católica.
The policy has a $400,000 dollar ceiling which is a lot in Costa Rica. You can get discounts on the yealy cost of your policy if you join the Association of Residents of Costa Rica http://www.arcr.net/services/insurance-in-costa-rica/
Fortunately, I have been able to afford the INS private plan and have received first-class care over the last 25 years. I have had two minor surgical procedures and am pleased with the results. My son had an appendectomy as a young child and today is a healthy 27-year-old man.
Now there is a new kid on the block for retirees and other expats who are seeking affordable private medical care in Costa Rica. Metropolitan Hospital offers Medismart, which includes a wide range of services, regular doctors and specialists in all fields, tests, and more. The plan costs $12 plus $3 per dependent monthly with no restrictions, age limits, and unlimited usage. Metropolitan Hospital is easy to get to and is located in San José just south of Parque de La Merced. The best thing about this medical plan is that prices are discounted up to 80 percent when compared to other private plans.
You can visit the website for more details: http://www.medismart.net Their on line information is in Spanish but I am sure they have staff to answer your questions in English.