Healthcare for Digital Nomads Costa Rica
If you have begun the process of searching for digital nomad visas and destinations, you have probably come across Costa Rica. This central American nation is one of the most sought-after workplaces for digital nomads and for good reason. It boasts beautiful beaches, amazing food, and some of the kindest people you will ever meet.
One of the visa requirements for Costa Rica is that you have to provide proof of valid international insurance for the duration of your stay. You may be wondering what exactly that means and what insurance you should purchase. This article will give you some ideas and explanations for healthcare for digital nomads in Costa Rica.
What Exactly is The Health Insurance Requirement?
When it comes to healthcare for digital nomads in Costa Rica, the Costa Rican immigration office states “you must have a medical insurance policy that will cover you for the duration of your stay in Costa Rica.”
This is common for many long-term stay visas because the foreign government wants to ensure that if you get sick or injured, their hospitals won’t have to bear the cost of treating you. Travel insurance will help show the government that you have a way of paying for all injuries or sicknesses.
Will my Insurance From My Home Country Work?
This depends on your home country, but probably not. Most insurance plans do not cover international medical costs or have an international deductible.
You can double-check with the insurance you have to make sure. If they do happen to offer international plans, ask for all your plan information in writing so that you can file it with your visa.
Can I Use Travel Medical Insurance?
Per Costa Rican visa requirements, yes, travel insurance works. However, if you are planning on staying overseas for a year or more, this will probably not be the cheapest option. Most travel insurance plans charge per week, not per month. This can end up being costly if you are paying per week for one or two years.
Travel insurance also usually only covers medical incidents. It does not cover normal sicknesses or routine medical checkups.
Using Global Medical Insurance
Global medical insurance or ex-pat insurance works the same as domestic healthcare insurance plans. This means you can use it for preventative care, dental care, maternity care, and several other things.
Most ex-pat travel insurance will also let you add on additional plans or items you may think you need.
What Are The Benefits of Global Medical Insurance?
Some global medical insurance plans have extremely low deductibles, even as low as $500. This means you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket expenses for the entire duration of your stay.
Keep in mind that medical expenses in Costa Rica are extremely cheap. A basic visit to a clinic will usually be less than $20. Prescription medication from a clinic or pharmacy is usually less than $10. Even with a low deductible, it can take you a while to reach it.
For this reason, always pick the plan with the lowest deductible that you can afford.
Global medical insurance is much easier to extend or cancel than traditional insurance. You can usually do it online through a few clicks in your account. This is great because you won’t have to worry about calling someone from abroad.
Includes surgical and preventative care
If you happen to need surgery while abroad, it can still be quite expensive. Your global insurance can cover emergency and scheduled surgeries. It can also cover preventative care visits depending on the plan you purchase.
What Should I Look For in Global Insurance?
This will depend on your needs and any issues you might think you could run into. However, make sure that your travel insurance plan has at least the following:
- 24/7 emergency assistance
- Surgical treatment
- Emergency dental
- Preventative care
- Inpatient care
- Emergency outpatient treatment
- Medical evacuation
The following list isn’t absolutely necessary but could save you money in the long run.
- Routine dental care
- Routine vision care
- Outpatient treatment that’s not an emergency
How Much Will Ex-Pat Insurance Cost?
This depends on the plan you choose, as well as your age and location. For a basic plan without dental or routine care options, you will probably pay less than $3,000 a year.
If you choose to add dental or outpatient services, you will probably pay between $3,000-$5,000 per year.
If you are bringing your spouse or dependents, you can plan to spend more.
Can I Add People to My Global Insurance?
If you are bringing a spouse or children to Costa Rica, they will all need medical insurance. You will need to buy a family plan that covers each family member. Make sure your insurance information has all the family members’ names on it.
If you plan to have a child with your spouse while possibly living abroad, make sure the plan includes maternity and neonatal care in case it is needed.
Will the global insurance plan also cover expenses in my home country?
Some plans will cover you while abroad and at home. They are usually more expensive. Most ex-pats choose to only buy a plan that covers them in foreign countries.
Most plans will cover emergency evacuation services should you need them that will bring you back to your country of residence. You will then be required to pay in-country fees separately. Some plans also cover care in your home country for diseases or problems that were contracted abroad.
Will it Cover Preexisting Conditions?
Usually not, but it depends on the plan. If you have a preexisting condition or a condition that needs medicine, talk with your doctor before moving.
Make sure there is a way you can manage any conditions while abroad before you leave. This will ensure you are safe while living in Costa Rica.
Which Companies Are Best?
Several ex-pat insurance companies are well-known and offer great rates. You can browse their websites and request quotes from several different ones before you decide.
- Best for maternity care
- Unlimited lifetime policy maximum
- Good for spouse and children
- Has several different levels (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Gold Plus, and Platinum).
- Bronze is best for young people in good health.
- Gold offers plans for preexisting conditions.
- Gold Plus offers long-term plans (more than 3 years).
- Platinum offers maternity and newborn care.
- Can be bought online in a few minutes, even if you’re already traveling.
- 24/7 emergency assistance
- Includes protection for theft and loss of gear and tech devices.
- Can choose plans based on the activities you participate in.
These are just a few options but are usually the most popular and most used.
What is healthcare in Costa Rica like?
Hospitals and clinics in Costa Rica are actually very efficient and advanced. Quality medical care can be received at an affordable cost. Hospitals and clinics are usually very clean. Nurses and doctors go through rigorous training and schooling.
In fact, the WHO ranks Costa Rica’s healthcare as 36th in the world and says the overall efficiency is better than the healthcare in the United States.
If you fall ill or need emergency medical services in Costa Rica, the hospitals and doctors will take good care of you. This is important when it comes to healthcare for digital nomads in Costa Rica.