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I would like to hear from people living in Costa Rica who are paying out of pocket to go to the doctor and hospital. How is it working for you? I know healthcare is more affordable in Costa Rica than the USA.

 

Paying out of pocket for dental care is very common because dental care in Costa Rica is more affordable than dental care in the USA. :)

Edited by Laura K

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I would like to hear from people living in Costa Rica who are paying out of pocket to go to the doctor and hospital. How is it working for you? I know healthcare is more affordable in Costa Rica than the USA.

 

Paying out of pocket for dental care is very common because dental care in Costa Rica is more affordable than dental care in the USA. :)

 

I pay out-of-pocket for doctor visits and meds. Haven't used the hospitals.

 

My rheumatologist at CIMA charges $50 per visit. A local GP charges $20.

 

Last year I was having trouble breathing due to mildew during October. Cruz Roja sent a doctor to my house. He checked me over, wrote a prescription, gave me a shot to open my air passages and charged me $20.

 

One medication that I pay $120 for here would cost me $600+ in the U.S. without insurance.

 

Here is definitely significantly cheaper, and I've had excellent treatment.

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I pay out-of-pocket for doctor visits and meds. Haven't used the hospitals.

 

My rheumatologist at CIMA charges $50 per visit. A local GP charges $20.

 

Last year I was having trouble breathing due to mildew during October. Cruz Roja sent a doctor to my house. He checked me over, wrote a prescription, gave me a shot to open my air passages and charged me $20.

 

One medication that I pay $120 for here would cost me $600+ in the U.S. without insurance.

 

Here is definitely significantly cheaper, and I've had excellent treatment.

 

 

Shea,

 

Thanks for the information about how much medical care costs in Costa Rica.

 

Glad your health is better.

 

Sounds as though paying out of pocket is the way to go.

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Sounds as though paying out of pocket is the way to go.

 

I don't want to read too much into the above comment, but paying out of pocket is NEVER the way to go completely. You can average costs and most of the time do better paying out of pocket, but the thing about health care costs is that we are all at risk of having a huge bill. The whole point of having insurance or the equivalent is to spread around these huge risks. We never know whether we will be the one in a hundred who get the big bill, so all hundred of us kick in one-hundreth in case it is us. Please, don't ever think that going without something is smart, unless you just like to roll the dice (and not pay your fair share for the person who needs it).

 

This said, for ordinary things in CR, paying as you go isn't so bad. I don't know where Shea lives, but in San José going rate for a regular doctor's visit is around $45 and a specialist $55. Really, these are not gringo prices but Tico prices as well. It's not dirt cheap, but reasonable compared to the US. My prescription meds are around half the US costs, and better yet I don't need to fool with a prescription (thus save on the otherwise useless doctor visit to get one). It's therefore not worth fooling with insurance or the like for normal things (and Ticos in CAJA typically pay out of pocket for normal things too). However, make sure that you have something to cover you if you get run over by a car or get cancer or you name it.

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Kenn,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

Yes, insurance is very important when major tragedy strikes.

 

At the ARCR forum, I'll learn more about medical and dental insurance coverage.

 

Do you think dental insurance coverage is necessary for major dental work?

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Hi Laura -

In the states, we had insurance with a $5k deductible. In Costa Rica, we have caja for emergencies and items that count as pre-existing conditions, and (currently) no other insurance. We figure that most single medical events cost less than our old deductible. If something *major* came up that caja can't address satisfactorily (cancer, for example), we would be out a lot more (say $30k), but not as much as in the states.

Since those are the figures we're thinking of for medical, and dental is so much less, well - we don't think dental insurance is worth it.

BTW - our Alajuela centro doctor charged $12 for a drop-in visit.

Julie

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Hi Laura -

In the states, we had insurance with a $5k deductible. In Costa Rica, we have caja for emergencies and items that count as pre-existing conditions, and (currently) no other insurance. We figure that most single medical events cost less than our old deductible. If something *major* came up that caja can't address satisfactorily (cancer, for example), we would be out a lot more (say $30k), but not as much as in the states.

Since those are the figures we're thinking of for medical, and dental is so much less, well - we don't think dental insurance is worth it.

BTW - our Alajuela centro doctor charged $12 for a drop-in visit.

Julie

 

Julie,

 

It's great to know that medical insurance can be paid out of pocket.

 

I talked to my husband, Randy, about how to pay for medical insurance.

 

His idea is to keep the USA medical insurance for major medical care. If we need major medical care, we return to the USA for the care and return to Costa Rica when we are well enough to do so. Pay out of pocket for doctor visits, immunizations, prescriptions, urgent care (the medical care that falls in between health maintenance and emergency care), and dental care.

 

He could change his mind about where we receive our major medical care when he sees how good and less expensive the Costa Rican hospitals are compared to the USA.

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Kenn,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

Yes, insurance is very important when major tragedy strikes.

 

At the ARCR forum, I'll learn more about medical and dental insurance coverage.

 

Do you think dental insurance coverage is necessary for major dental work?

 

Laura,

 

No, dental insurance is hardly ever worth it. There is though a weird thing about dentists in CR. Although they are cheaper per thing, so to speak, it's like they are all specialists in one thing. Thus, and this is not only my experience, you end up having like three appointments for something that would be one appointment in the US. You figure it out, I can't. It seems like dentists want a monthly fee out of you, and in the end you can pay more if you aren't careful.

 

I will add that from what I hear, dental costs vary a lot. My dentists are Tico Yuppies, which could be my problem . . .

 

However, not to bring up a sorry subject, you also have to know that lawsuits aren't that cool in CR. I realize that everybody hates lawyers and lawsuits, but in my opinion they are a check on problems in the US. If a dentist drills through your cheek and takes out an eye or a doctor amputates the wrong arm here, what are you going to do? Hire a Tico lawyer who will take a payoff from the provider to screw up your case? Providers are of course generally good here, and you don't really have to worry, but you have to know that if they screw up it is probably your tough luck. There aren't the same protections here, legally, that there are in the US.

 

In fact, not that I know dentistry, Tico dentists pull a lot of teeth. My dentists in the US have always said that's a no-no. They tell me that you always save the tooth and work with it. I don't know, but the practice of pulling teeth is one that I wonder about.

 

I want to find a $12 doctor, or maybe not . . . Really, that is what you deal with here. Price per se is no guidance. You have to make a judgment about who you are paying for what.

 

Ken

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Ken is correct: there is no such thing as a Dental Insurance (imho) that is worth the cost, anywhere! As for having the law to protect the patient in the U. S., that is not necessarily the case any more:

 

First of all, thanks to Dubya, in Texas, there is no longer any real legal recourse for victims of medical malpractice, and has not been one since he was governor. He and his buddies put into place a "cap" on malpractice lawsuits that essentially makes it not worth the effort, so lawyers will not take this kind of case any more - and, they haven't ever since he got that bill passed. (Actually, the Republican party, along with the Medical Lobby, sold the Texas voters a bill of goods on this issue, and no one has been able to overturn it).

 

As for Dentists seeming to all be specialists, that is not something privy to CR. It is common all over the world, and is very much like the various medical specialties that we are now faced with. However, we have a very good general Dentist, and are aware of several in Guanacaste. As for pulling a lot of teeth, remember you are in a Third World Country where two things dictate these decisions: cost of services (it is cheaper to pull a tooth - for the patient - than it is to contemplate fillings and caps and crowns and root canals, etc). and cultural differences.

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Laura,

 

No, dental insurance is hardly ever worth it. There is though a weird thing about dentists in CR. Although they are cheaper per thing, so to speak, it's like they are all specialists in one thing. Thus, and this is not only my experience, you end up having like three appointments for something that would be one appointment in the US. You figure it out, I can't. It seems like dentists want a monthly fee out of you, and in the end you can pay more if you aren't careful.

 

I will add that from what I hear, dental costs vary a lot. My dentists are Tico Yuppies, which could be my problem . . .

 

However, not to bring up a sorry subject, you also have to know that lawsuits aren't that cool in CR. I realize that everybody hates lawyers and lawsuits, but in my opinion they are a check on problems in the US. If a dentist drills through your cheek and takes out an eye or a doctor amputates the wrong arm here, what are you going to do? Hire a Tico lawyer who will take a payoff from the provider to screw up your case? Providers are of course generally good here, and you don't really have to worry, but you have to know that if they screw up it is probably your tough luck. There aren't the same protections here, legally, that there are in the US.

 

In fact, not that I know dentistry, Tico dentists pull a lot of teeth. My dentists in the US have always said that's a no-no. They tell me that you always save the tooth and work with it. I don't know, but the practice of pulling teeth is one that I wonder about.

 

I want to find a $12 doctor, or maybe not . . . Really, that is what you deal with here. Price per se is no guidance. You have to make a judgment about who you are paying for what.

 

Ken

 

Ken,

 

Thanks for the heads up about lawsuits...or lack thereof.

 

Sounds as though one has to say to the dentist that they are willing to pay more so their teeth will be saved. I love my teeth...especially after almost losing them to periodontal disease in the past.

 

I've learned so much from you.

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Ken is correct: there is no such thing as a Dental Insurance (imho) that is worth the cost, anywhere! As for having the law to protect the patient in the U. S., that is not necessarily the case any more:

 

First of all, thanks to Dubya, in Texas, there is no longer any real legal recourse for victims of medical malpractice, and has not been one since he was governor. He and his buddies put into place a "cap" on malpractice lawsuits that essentially makes it not worth the effort, so lawyers will not take this kind of case any more - and, they haven't ever since he got that bill passed. (Actually, the Republican party, along with the Medical Lobby, sold the Texas voters a bill of goods on this issue, and no one has been able to overturn it).

 

As for Dentists seeming to all be specialists, that is not something privy to CR. It is common all over the world, and is very much like the various medical specialties that we are now faced with. However, we have a very good general Dentist, and are aware of several in Guanacaste. As for pulling a lot of teeth, remember you are in a Third World Country where two things dictate these decisions: cost of services (it is cheaper to pull a tooth - for the patient - than it is to contemplate fillings and caps and crowns and root canals, etc). and cultural differences.

 

First, Laua K, thanks so much for being a sweetheart.

 

Second, jdocop, man, I didn't know that Herb Albert was a Jewish kid from Southern Cal. It doesn't matter and I really liked the clip Laura K posted, just makes you realize what a big, complicated world it is.

 

Third, real interesting about W and malpractice "reform" in Texas. I'm of two or three minds about this. Mostly I think that the way the US system works (or doesn't), lawyers are actually the main check on the system, so I kind of support them. However, nobody likes these silly jury awards. My third mind though has long been that the jury selection process in the US is the problem, but I won't go there.

 

Fourth, regarding the dentists, I'm just used to those in the US who are for the most part "one stop" people who say "we'll keep an eye on this but nothing to worry about now." In CR my experience has been to be routed to a bunch of specialists who go by the book on everything, and then the opposite of the "one stop" dentists who just pull the teeth. I don't know. I look for the dentist in the middle. I look for a dentist who says "not so bad and call me if you have a problem."

 

Plus a dentist who gives out free tooth brushes. Now, whatever happened to these? I finally bought a new tooth brush, $3. In the old days the dentist used to give you a new one at checkups.

 

W didn't change this, did he?

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First, Laua K, thanks so much for being a sweetheart.

I agree with you Kenn. Hoo-Ray Hoo-Ray for Laura K . . .

 

Plus a dentist who gives out free tooth brushes. Now, whatever happened to these? I finally bought a new tooth brush, $3. In the old days the dentist used to give you a new one at checkups.

My dental hygienist give me a new toothbrush each visit. (Plus a travel sized toothpaste and a sample roll of floss.) In her hygienist-sort-of-way she explains that it is best to start with a new, clean toothbrush several times per year to keep from re-introducing bacteria from an old brush into your mouth and gums.

 

So, some dentists' offices are still giving out toothbrushes.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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