We continue to be pleased with both the service and prices we receive through Hospital Metropolitano’s MediSmart Plan. For the two of us, the plan costs $180/year and gives us discounted rates on doctors visits, laboratory and radiology, prescriptions, hospital stays and even operating room costs.
In February and March, Paul and I scheduled some routine visits with specialists. We both saw a dermatologist at 60% off the regular price. She spent an hour with each of us and checked everything from our scalps to between our toes and everything in between. Cost for each 1-hour appointment was 18,000 colones (less than $32). She also biopsied a tiny growth on Paul’s nose that she had been keeping tabs on. The cost for the biopsy was 20,000 colones (about $35) and we were promised the results in about 10 days by email. We actually received an email from the doctor six days later with positive results. Total cost was $36,000 colones ($63.53).
I also had an appointment with a gynecologist through MediSmart. Why didn’t I see a gynecologist through the Caja? We were told early on that unless a woman has a diagnosis of a serious gynecological condition such as cancer, the wait for a non-urgent appointment could be years. Therefore, I have always had my routine checks done privately. The discount for this type of specialist was 80% off the regular cost, so I paid only 9,000 colones (less than $16) for the visit. In addition to the consultation, she also performed a PAP test and IU Ultrasound. The total price came to 30,000 colones (about $53 USD). I received the ultrasound results immediately and was told that it would take about two weeks to receive the results of the PAP by email. One negative is that I never received the results of the PAP. I emailed the doctor and did not receive a reply. I have a follow-up appointment in a few days, so hopefully she will have the results at that time.
My gynecologist also wanted me to get my hormone levels checked, and to have both a mammogram, breast ultrasound, and bone density test. We scheduled those tests over the next couple of weeks. The mammogram and breast ultrasound cost us a total of 30,000 colones and the lab work cost 106,349 colones, for a total of $240.63 USD. In the past, I have always had my mammograms done through the Caja, but since I was having all of these other tests done through MediSmart, I decided to have the mammogram done privately as well. I received the written results of the mammogram and ultrasound, along with the films, about 10 minutes after the tests were completed. By the time we got home that afternoon, I had received the results of most of my lab work by email. A few of the tests would take a couple of days longer. Another negative is that I had to follow-up on the remainder of my laboratory results. After more than a week, I had not received them so I sent a follow-up email. Still no response. Luckily, Paul was visiting the MediSmart office with one of our healthcare tours and he stopped in the lab and explained the situation. Within 30 minutes, I had received the remainder of my results.
We had to go to another location within the MediSmart system for the bone density scan. (Note: in Spanish, this test is called “densitoetría ósea cadera y columna.”) We were every bit as pleased with the treatment we received at the Lindora Medical Center. I was promptly seen at my appointment time, the technician was courteous and professional, and I received the scans and a written report of the results about 10 minutes afterwards. Total cost for this test was 24,921 colones ($44 USD).
The same day of my gynecologist appointment, I also had an X-Ray of my hip. I had been having some vague hip pain for some months and had an X-Ray taken through the Caja at no cost. However, when I asked how long it would take to receive the results, I was told that it would be at least four months. The Caja can take a long time for non-urgent care and Paul and I decided we didn’t want to wait that long. So, I had my Caja doctor write another order and had the X-Ray done at Hospital Metropolitano. With our 40% discount on X-Rays, the cost to us was 22,784 colones (about $40 USD). I was given the films about 5 minutes afterwards and received the results by email about 2 hours later. This is a good example of how we, and many others, use a blend of public and private healthcare. Getting the results in a timely manner put my mind at ease and was, therefore, well worth the $40 it cost to have the test done privately.
We have found MediSmart to be a cost-effective way of handling our healthcare needs and have been very impressed with both the doctors we have seen and the quality of the other services. The only negatives we have experienced seem to be more administrative in nature. One specific negative is that when you make an appointment by phone, it is difficult to find someone to help you who speaks English. Even though we speak some Spanish, it can still be a challenge. We frequently have to say, “mas despacio, por favor” (more slowly, please).
Hospital Metropolitano’s MediSmart plan has an English language website which you can access at this link. Though you can check their complete break down coverage in various treatment areas at this site, here are a few screenshots. (Note: the prices below are in colones. Current rate of exchange is 567 colones to $1 USD.)
- MediSmart: An Affordable Alternative to Private Health Insurance in Costa Rica
- In the Mailbag-A Reader’s Experience with Medismart-January 2017