Costa Rica

How the Medical system works in Costa Rica

Health care services in Costa Rica are considered among the best in Latin America. Hospitals and polyclinics generally provide efficient medical care. Basic medical facilities are available throughout the country, although treatment in rural areas may be limited. Medical tourism is highly promoted in Costa Rica. However, critical health problems may require evacuation to the nearby country with required facilities.

Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for medical services. Only private hospitals and clinics accept credit cards.

Visiting a doctor in Costa Rica

Outpatient care services are provided by the public hospitals, private hospitals, and clinics. Doctors in Costa Rica make house calls. Travelers can also contact the hotel desk for help regarding the availability of doctors. Most hotels have a doctor on call all 24 hours of the day.

Being admitted to hospital in Costa Rica

Health care is provided by hospitals and polyclinics in Costa Rica. Private hospitals with state-of-the-art medical equipment can be found in most cities, but treatment costs may be expensive. Both public and private hospitals provide 24-hour medical facilities. Small clinics known as EBAIS provide routine and non-emergency medical care throughout the country. Emergency departments in hospitals give priority to major emergencies, so wait times may be long for minor cases. Doctors are well-trained and highly qualified, and often speak English.

Dial 911 for emergency ambulance services. Both private clinics and public hospitals provide ambulance services. Services provided by ambulances called as ‘unidad avanzada’ are more efficient. Air ambulances are also available.


Buying medication in Costa Rica

Pharmacies (including 24-hour pharmacies) can be found easily in Costa Rica. Most medicines can be bought without a prescription and the costs are inexpensive when compared to Western countries. Pharmacists are qualified to diagnose and treat basic and common ailments. They can also administer injections. Most pharmacies provide door delivery services also.

Dental care in Costa Rica

Quality and cost-effective dental care services (including cosmetic dental surgeries) are available in Costa Rica. Dentists are highly qualified and dental offices are generally compliant with basic infection control and safety standards.

However, prior to receiving dental care, travelers are advised to make sure that dental equipment is sterilized after each use, that new needles are used for each patient, and that water used during procedures is either sterile or boiled.

Source: WorldCue by AXA