With the increase in people losing their health insurance, Costa Rica medical tourism is now taking up the slack for more than 25,000 people every year. Overwhelmingly Americans, they hop a jet or cruise ship and travel south for Costa Rica. And, more and more travelers are taking vacations to this little Latin American country that include medical tourism. Why? Because they are onto the fact that medical care in Costa Rica is now on par with the best hospitals in the United States but at a shadow of the cost. It is ironic that the wealthiest country in world history is essentially outsourcing medical care of its citizens.
Tico Times Editors Note: Many Americans are heading To Costa Rica for stem cell treatments and recently, some Costa Rica doctors have been very successful in the Bariatric (weight loss) surgery using the technique called the gastric sleeve which is a revolutionary new cure for Type 2 diabetes in the non-obese.
There is an increasingly threadbare American urban myth that American health care is the best in the world. Perhaps that was once so. Of course, there are many thousands of hospitals around the globe that do not measure up to the standards of many American hospitals, but today there are many that do so. The best hospitals in the world are today certified and have Joint Commission International Accreditation, meaning that that they meet the most rigorous international benchmarks for patient care and hospital standards.
Three Costa Rica hospitals have JCI Accreditation. They are , Cima, and Clinica Biblica, all in or very near to San Jose. Each has a wide range of medical services and Board Certified physicians.
American health care is the most expensive in the world—by a very large margin. And, for the nearly 50 million Americans without health insurance, there is insult added to injury because most care givers and hospitals charge uninsured patients much more for services than their neighbors fortunate enough to have good insurance. This is where Costa Rica medical care comes into play. Thousands of suffering American travelers are becoming Costa Rica medical tourists because they want to get great care and save money. Many save up to 65% in Costa Rica for the identical surgical care they would receive in the United States-if they had the money.
Here is one example that illustrates the point. For patients without health insurance, total knee replacement surgery in the U.S. can cost $25,000-$35,000 or more. That same surgery at Clinica Biblica is less than $12,000.
Lasik eye surgery that can cost up to $5,000 in the U.S. is often under $2,000. The accredited hospitals of Costa Rica and many board certified doctors—many who have studied and trained in the United States and at other world renowned universities-typically charge about $3,200 for breast augmentation. Increasingly, women wanting plastic surgery are medical tourists. Instead of getting a facelift for $10,000, they hop a plane for Costa Rica where for about $3,000 or so, they can have the same procedure as back home while recuperating in a tropical paradise on a Costa Rica vacation. Then, as an added bonus, they go home with money in their pocket. And remember the rule of Costa Rica: what happens here stays here!
Top drawer medical care in Costa Rica does not have to take place in a hospital. There are many, many clinics, too. In addition to the three JCI accredited hospitals, there are three clinics in San Jose accredited by the American Association for the Accreditation of Ambulatory Facilities. They are the University of Iberoamerica(UNIBE) which offers ambulatory and surgical care; a dental clinic called Sonrise Por Todo (Smiles for Everybody; and Pino Plastic Surgery Clinic. Like the hospitals, these clinics have board certified physicians or dentists.
About a third of Costa Rica medical tourists come for dental surgery or implants. They, too, find great savings. Implants costing up to $3,000 in America cost $500-$750 in Costa Rica. Periodontal surgery costing $2,500 in the U.S. is about $400.
Like any place else in the world costs, of course, vary by provider so get a quote. And, always ask if there is a discount for payment by cash rather than credit card. Finally, consider this. Many medical and dental insurance companies pay for medical or dental care in Costa Rica so, check with your carrier and Costa Rica service provider before your treatment.
Article by Victor Krumm. He writes about sunny Costa Rica in his excellent Costa Rica Vacation Blog.