Private Health Insurance, Public Health Coverage and Residential Papers

Boring Stuff for the Few Readers Anticipating a Move Here

That title just means some details only concern the persons actually moving here or retiring here and I don’t want family or friends back in the states worrying about my healthcare. I’m fine! Don’t worry! In a different country, culture or situation some things take longer than you expect and you just work them out the best way you can, sometimes one day at a time.

It has been 15 months since I filed my application with Immigration and I am still not approved yet. I now know people who have gotten it in 6 or 8 months and another in 3 years, so the bureaucratic government office is always slow and it often depends on which agent’s desk your application ends up on or what is happening in his/her life at the time. So mine is not that unusual, but I talked with my attorney  by phone this afternoon and here is the update on my application or what is in his control: I am now his oldest application file, so I’m his number one priority now. Good! He has made an appointment with Immigration for May 13 to request “a resolution” on my application. That is between him and the government office, I’m not allowed to go then, but he is planning for approval on that date and has even made a June 1 appointment with the CAJA Office (government health plan) for me to get my healthcare card (Caja Card) which is separate from my residency card (Cedula) and I think that same day we may apply for the “Gold Card” which is for us old people to get discounted or free services like buses, etc. That means we have to do some paperwork and Social Security Office visits between May 13 and June 1. I will try to stay available though I do have a May 20-23 birding club trip. SO I’M HOPING FOR RESIDENCY BY MAY AND CAJA BY JUNE OR JULY. I will not hold my breath! Everything here usually takes longer than suggested!

The primary reason I’m in a hurry to get this residency and public healthcare coverage is because I really can’t afford to keep private healthcare insurance! For a reasonable amount per month I will be on something like medicaid or medicare in the states (only much better!). There will be no co-pay or charges for any doctor visit, surgery, hospital visits, prescription drugs, etc.! I will pay a monthly charge based on a percent of my SS income. I need this kind of “socialized medicine” as some Americans like to call it. Read on to see why.

I’m thankful I’ve had no big health issue like cancer or needed surgery, injury, etc.! But private doctors, hospitals and other medical services are so much less expensive here than in the states that for my usual medical needs so far in my life I could afford to have no insurance and just pay cash out of pocket for doc visits, x-rays, EKGs, prescriptions, etc. But prudence makes you plan for the worst and have insurance when you are not on the government health plan yet, as has been my case for the last year.

When I first came, I was could tell my Medicare Supplement Insurance that I was on an extended vacation and be covered for I think it was up to 4 or 6 months. When that expired, I cancelled that policy and purchased a Costa Rica Private Healthcare Insurance Policy which covered 80 to 90% of everything including prescriptions with a few restrictions I won’t get into here. But like in the states it was based on age and for someone turning 75 it was $3,000 paid up front for the whole year. It expires the end of this month and I just sent in my claims for the whole year, so waiting on a check!

Since I still don’t have my residency and thus the almost free government healthcare plan, I figured I probably should go ahead and renew for one more year “just in case.” Well, they do everything at the last minute here and I just got my renewal notice with the shocker that I this year move into the next age bracket of 76-80 years old and thus my renewal cost would now be over $6,000 for the year! NO WAY! That precipitated the above-mentioned call to my attorney and my push to get residency and the government healthcare plan expedited if at all possible.

It is close but the timing of my May residency and June healthcare plan may be just right! Though I may have a couple of months without insurance, so just don’t get sick! Private insurance companies here are about as bad as the states for high costs, but the government plan is certainly a lot better! And I hope to be on that soon!

If anyone considering a move here wants more details, just email and I will be glad to discuss it further and keep you posted on what happens, though I will do that here on the blog too once I’m approved and probably have stories of government bureaucracy to share.  🙂

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