There are two medical systems in Costa Rica: a government-run one and the private medical system, with most people choosing to combine both.

Caja is Costa Rica’s universal health care system, which is available for both citizens and legal residents. As a Caja user, you pay an income-based monthly fee that covers the applicant and a dependent spouse. The fee is about $75 to $150, according to International Living, and provides complete coverage, including doctor and specialist visits, diagnostic testing and prescriptions. However, a major drawback is long waiting times for specialized surgeries, since Caja covers a majority of the population.

The private medical system is another option. A doctor’s visit there is $50, ultrasounds run $75 and major surgeries are usually half to a quarter of costs in the U.S., according to International Living.

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