- By Blog in
Updated January 28, 2019
Like many expats in Costa Rica, we don’t have private health insurance. It is next to impossible to find private coverage for folks over 70 years of age or that doesn’t exclude preexisting conditions. And affordability is another factor for us with annual plans in the thousands for the two of us. We rely mostly on the Caja for our healthcare needs and, when necessary, see private doctors as well. But what if something big happened? We liked the idea of having something else to keep private healthcare affordable.
In 2016, one of our readers told us about a new hospital discount program, called MediSmart, which he had just joined. Turns out, it is offered through Hospital Metropolitano in San Jose, one of the hospitals we visit on our healthcare tour. We knew from visiting there on our tour that Hospital Metropolitano has much lower prices for many procedures than most of the other private hospitals. They are a smaller hospital, just 8 hospital rooms, so they can focus on personalized service. Plus, our friend recently had inpatient surgery there and had a wonderful experience. So we decided to check out their Medismart plan to see if it would work for us.
MediSmart is a discount plan, offering 40% to 80% off of everything from appointments with specialists like dermatologists and gynecologists to X-Rays, lab work, and even hospital rooms and operating room time. There are no exclusions for age or pre-existing conditions. The best thing is the cost. For a single person, the cost is $12 per month. For a couple, the second person adds $6 for a total of $18 per month. And if you pay for a year in advance, like we did, you get 2 months free. So, for two people, that’s $180 per year to participate in the plan. Pro-rated, that comes to just $15 per month for the both of us to be enrolled in the plan. Our first visit was with a dermatologist, at 60% off the normal fee, so paying ¢20,000 colones (about $36 USD) instead of ¢50,000 colones, a savings of more than $50 USD. And not only can you add a spouse to the plan for $6, you can also add other beneficiaries — children, grandchildren, even your housekeeper or gardener — for $6/person/month.
You can sign up for MediSmart right in the lobby of Hospital Metropolitano. More details about the plan are in the graphic below (click to enlarge). You can also visit their website (Spanish and English) for more details.
The MediSmart website has detailed information of pricing and discounts (in English) by specialist type at this link: https://eng.medismart.net/eng/coverage-levels.
MediSmart also offers a complementary program for cancer screening called OncoSmart. This plan covers cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment from the MediSmart Medical Plan. OncoSmart offers all the benefits of their MediSmart plan, in addition to: an annual preventive oncology screening visit, oncology appointments for cancer survivors and access to an oncologist (these services are exclusive to OncoSmart). To obtain the benefits of OncoSmart, members pay just $2 additional per person, to their monthly plan.
An additional benefit of MediSmart is that you can add your dog or cat to the program for just $2/per pet/per month. Coverage is included for veterinary medical consultations, grooming, and much more.