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I received my Medicare card in June 01,2008,however, I never have used it because I live full-time in Costa Rica and cannot use this card outside the USA. I have a private health insurance plan which covers my health needs here in Costa Rica. I plan to visit the USA in a few months and am thinking of doing a through medical evaluation in the USA. MY question is to you Medicare users is how you went about setting up your FIRST medical appointment under the Medicare System?

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I received my Medicare card in June 01,2008,however, I never have used it because I live full-time in Costa Rica and cannot use this card outside the USA. I have a private health insurance plan which covers my health needs here in Costa Rica. I plan to visit the USA in a few months and am thinking of doing a through medical evaluation in the USA. MY question is to you Medicare users is how you went about setting up your FIRST medical appointment under the Medicare System?

 

 

 

Simple: Call the Dr.of your choice and ask if they accept Medicare. Either you will make the appointment or call another Dr.

 

Can we quiz tyou about your private insurance you have in CR? Costs and what do you get for the money? Good service?

Edited by versatile

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Can we quiz tyou about your private insurance you have in CR? Costs and what do you get for the money? Good service?

 

As a retired Federal Employee of the USA I carried my Federal Employee Plan(FEP) "Blue Cross/Blue Shield" into retirement and it is a excellent plan and readly accepted at Clinica Biblica and CIMA and many hospitals in Panama. A few years back I needed in-hospital care at Clinica Biblica and my total responsibility on a multi-dollar bill was only $100.00 and Clinica Biblica did all the paperwork. The medical care that I received was excellent!

Edited by tibas9

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As a retired Federal Employee of the USA I carried my Federal Employee Plan(FEP) "Blue Cross/Blue Shield" into retirement and it is a excellent plan and readly accepted at Clinica Biblica and CIMA and many hospitals in Panama. A few years back I needed in-hospital care at Clinica Biblica and my total responsibility on a multi-dollar bill was only $100.00 and Clinica Biblica did all the paperwork.

Tibas,

 

Thanx for the comments on Hosp. Clínica Bíblica. Next time I have to use a hospital in CR, it won't be CIMA though they were fine. But because I also have Blue Cross (State of Florida) and CIMA is out-of-system and Hosp. Clínica Bíblica is in-system it's a no brainer, costwise.

 

I also have heard that Hosp. Cínica Católica (also in SJ) is in-system for Blue Cross. Have you had any experience with them? I know Ronni has spoken well of them here on the Forums.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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...But because I also have Blue Cross (State of Florida) and CIMA is out-of-system and Hosp. Clínica Bíblica is in-system it's a no brainer, costwise.

Hmmm...

I am beginning to wonder if Blue Cross international coverage isn't dependant on the insurance plan. I have BC through my work and when I check coverage in CR at their website it shows tha both Clinica Biblica and CIMA are covered.

 

Using your account number you can check what providers are approved for you here:

https://international.mondialusa.com/bcbsa/index.asp?page=login

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But because I also have Blue Cross (State of Florida) and CIMA is out-of-system and Hosp. Clínica Bíblica is in-system it's a no brainer, costwise.

 

Paul,

 

I just checked the Blue Cross/Blue Shield website and it appears that Hospital CIMA is also in-system.

 

https://international.mondialusa.com/bcbsa/index.asp?page=login

 

You will need to login with your BCBS ID.

 

Moez

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just checked the Blue Cross/Blue Shield website and it appears that Hospital CIMA is also in-system.

Hi Moez,

 

I know it looks that way online but apparently with my contract (State of Florida) with BC/BS of Florida, CIMA is not in system any longer.

 

Doing some homework ahead of time, I had phoned and spoken with BC Customer Care and the person I talked with advised me that CIMA was no longer in-system. (Two separate employees on separate days said the same thing.)

 

I could have used CIMA but it is now a sizeable deductible and BC only pays 60% of the balance, whereas using Clínica Bíblica it is a significantly smaller deductible and they pay 80% of the balance.

 

Maybe the term I should be using here, instead of 'in-system', is 'in-plan'.

 

Still hoping someone (other han Ronni) will comment on Hospital Clínica Católica, if they've had any experience with them.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

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Tibas,

 

 

I also have heard that Hosp. Cínica Católica (also in SJ) is in-system for Blue Cross. Have you had any experience with them? I know Ronni has spoken well of them here on the Forums.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul M.

==

 

Paul

 

No, I have not had any experience with Clinica Catolica. My plan(Federal Employee Plan-Blue Cross/Blue Shield) has a oversees website that gives the current list on overseas medical provider and did not list Clinica Catolica but lists both Clinica Biblica and CIMA.

 

Rick

Edited by tibas9

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Hmmm...

 

Using your account number you can check what providers are approved for you here:

https://international.mondialusa.com/bcbsa/index.asp?page=login

 

On this BC International Listing it lists some hospitals in Panama and I have heard some very good things on the quality of service that they provide from some fellow Comrades that live in Panama.

Edited by tibas9

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Tibas9: I have a question about the use of your Federal Employee Plan (FEP) "Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Costa Rica vs the CAJA.

 

It is my understanding that next year when the new immigration policy takes effect, Expats with residence status must join the CAJA. Does that mean you will pay for the membership because it is required even though you do not need it since FEP covers you?

 

I am asking because I also have the FEP coverage and I was preparing to move from Panama to the Central Valley. Once I read about the must join CAJA requirement, I put the move on hold.

 

By the way, if anyone is interested in FEP coverage in Panama write me off board.

 

Thanks

 

Harry

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Tibas9: I have a question about the use of your Federal Employee Plan (FEP) "Blue Cross/Blue Shield in Costa Rica vs the CAJA.

 

It is my understanding that next year when the new immigration policy takes effect, Expats with residence status must join the CAJA. Does that mean you will pay for the membership because it is required even though you do not need it since FEP covers you?

 

I am asking because I also have the FEP coverage and I was preparing to move from Panama to the Central Valley. Once I read about the must join CAJA requirement, I put the move on hold.

 

By the way, if anyone is interested in FEP coverage in Panama write me off board.

 

Thanks

 

Harry

<It's is cheap insurance - especially if you don't live in the central valley! I've it had all the time I've been here, clinic is just up the street - haven't used it often, but when I needed it it was there! Cheap thru ARCR (group plan). What do you mean by "write me off board"?

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It is my understanding that next year when the new immigration policy takes effect, Expats with residence status must join the CAJA. Does that mean you will pay for the membership because it is required even though you do not need it since FEP covers you?

 

 

Harry[/font]

 

 

Harry: As of today some participants on this Forum feel that present Costa Rican residents and those that apply for their residency BEFORE the new law takes effect on March 1,2010 will not be required to join the CAJA. If this is correct we will in effect be "grandfathered"-in under the the requirements of the old law. However, the jury is still out on this matter and we are waiting for a further interpretation by the Costa Rican Migracion sometime in the near future.

 

To answer your specific question; yes, if required to join the CAJA I will keep my FEP and join the CAJA through the ARCR.

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ARCR does a lot of good things and has a lot of good programs but you don't need them to get the CAJA. Just go to your local CCSS office and sign up. Except for waiting in line, it only takes about 10 minutes. If your Spanish isn't so good, take a Tico friend. I am retired and my CAJA is $13 a month so what is the big deal? Like Newman says, it is really nice to be able to go to your local clinic for free stuff like blood pressure check or to check out that swelling on your foot from a scorpion bite or whatever. By all means, keep your FEP if you are moving to the Central Valley and don't worry so much about your CAJA since it may not cost much.

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I agree that joining CAJA is simple and can be of great value (and my bill is $27/mo for both of us) but I've spoken with a number of expats whose bill is $60-$120 a month! When you join CAJA the "Inspector" determines your monthly rate based upon your income ($600 or $1000 for Pensionado and Rentista) and your expenses. The nominal ratio is 13% of the difference. It also depends upon his/her attitude that day. They have flexibility.

 

ARCR provides an alternative if you don't want to chance it yourself. The last I heard the per-couple rate was about $40/mo (if at least one is over 55) and $62 (both under).

 

I personally didn't take it, and it worked well for us, but while sitting in the CAJA office waiting to see if they'd assign me a higher rate the $40 was looking pretty good.

 

And yes, all new residents will be required to join, but I would (and did!) anyway because it is cheap insurance for emergencies and minimizes paperwork. Plus, I'm a resident here and what little I pay (for what hopefully I'll never need to use) helps "the system" that my Costa Rican friends and neighbors rely upon.

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They must make up figures as they go along. I have had CAJA fo 4 years am a rentista and so my income shows 552,000 colones a month.. We pay 31,800 colones for 2 of us both over 55....My Canadian friends who live 4 houses down pay 19,120 for their CAJA..same income.... go figure... I tried talking to them and was told it is what it is and we don't change figures... Yeah like clockwork things change here all the time.... and not always for the better...

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