Costa Rica is becoming the mecca for North Americans and others who need reasonable health care. The president of Costa Rica has put out the welcome map for foreigners who want to come here to take advantage of the lower-cost medical care.
The president, Nobel-Peace Prize winner Óscar Arias Sánchez, issued a formal decree to assist those local clinics, medical professionals and the foreigners who wish to come here.
Among other actions, the president said the country would promote international accreditation of hospitals and clinics which specialize in foreign patients. Already Costa Rica has hospitals that are highly respected. One even is associated with Southern Methodist University.
Accreditation will give visitors a guarantee that highly trained professionals from elsewhere have studied the education, facilities, practices and philosophies of those organizations offering health care.
Arias already has told the educational ministry to make sure high school graduates are functional in English within a few years. That goes double for the health professions, because many physicians, dentists and nurses have studied in the United States, Canada and Great Britain.
Arias also said that his government would work with foreign insurance providers to make certain that medical care here will be covered by companies in the home country.
In 2007 some 8,500 foreigners, mostly U.S. citizens, came to Costa Rica for health care. Costa Rica has a dynamic system covering most of its citizens, and many practitioners share their time between private and public hospitals and clinics. So they have the advantages of both.
Why is health care so reasonable here? A lot has to do with the bureaucracy of the U.S. system. Some sources estimated that fully 40 percent of the money spent on medical care in the United states goes to administration. Costa Rica is a country that is not known for its high insurance rates on medical professional. Plus the overall cost of living is much lower.
Costa Rica is convenient and just a few hours by air from most of the United states. And as a recovery spot nothing can beat the great climate, the great service and the many possibilities a medical vacationer can find in Costa Rica.