A surgery coupled with a zip-line flight above a rainforest is probably one of the weirdest adventures you have heard of. But that is what some tourists – medical tourists – traveling to Costa Rica are doing – taking advantage of both the fun part and the not-so-fun medical part – both at an affordable price.
You may have heard about ecotourism. That is what Costa Rica is most famous for. National parks, protected areas, forest reserves, cultural heritage, and flora and fauna untouched by human intervention are what you get to experience when you travel to this most visited nation in the region. But, did you know that Costa Rica is also one of the highly sought-after medical tourism destinations in the world?
WHAT TREATMENTS TO SEEK?
Low-cost high-quality medical care in this exotic country is the reason why patients don’t mind flying to Costa Rica. Former FOX 2 meteorologist from Michigan, Chris Edwards, can vouch for that. He took a trip to Costa Rica for a colonoscopy and some long-wanted dental work. So can Wanda Bough from Kansas, who had a hysterectomy procedure in Costa Rica and saved $23,000. Colonoscopy is a screening of the colon and rectum – the two main parts of the large intestine – to look for inflamed tissue, ulcers, and abnormal growths. Hysterectomy is a surgical removal of the uterus.
Be it cosmetic or plastic surgery ; or LASIK or dental treatments ; or the feel-good wellness treatments and preventive check-ups; or the more serious ones like bariatric , orthopedic and cardiac care ; international patients choose Costa Rica for all sorts of medical services .
WHAT ABOUT QUALITY?
As our medical tourists Chris and Wanda affirm, the service afforded is warm, personalized and above all top-notch in quality. Hospital Clinica Biblica and CIMA Hospital , for example, are both Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited.
What it means to you as a patient is that the same quality of health care that you receive in the USA can be expected at these hospitals in Costa Rica. The Joint Commission International (the international subsidiary of The Joint Commission that accredits US hospitals) is a non-governmental organization with head offices in the United States of America awarding accreditation to health centers around the world in accordance with the most selective international standards and thus ensuring patients will receive superior quality hospital service.
Wanda, who is a registered nurse, understands it very well as she explains in her statement, “I know how hard it is for us to pass certification visits [at our hospital in the US].” She was so impressed by her hospital in Costa Rica, she said, “You could eat off the floors there. The hospitals were spotless.”
WHY COSTA RICAN HEALTHCARE SELLS?
But most of all, why Costa Rican medical care sells is because it is cheap.
$350 is all Chris paid for a colonoscopy in the capital city of San Jose. In his research, doctors in the United States had asked for anywhere between $3,250 and $9,000. Some studies show hospital costs alone to be $1,400 to $3,500 in the US. After tagging on the doctor fees, anesthesiologist fees and lab costs, the cost for a colonoscopy in the United States can be overwhelmingly high especially if you are uninsured or if the test is not covered by your insurance plan. Chris carried a health insurance plan with high deductibles so he figured the medical tourism road would be the most economical even with travel and lodging costs added on. And while he was there he also had extensive dental work done which he says cost him a third of what he thinks he would have paid in the US.
However, here is a word of caution. As with any country in the world, it is true that there are both good and poor providers in Costa Rica as well. So we recommend you do your homework well or engage a specialized medical tourism facilitator. Wanda and Chris are glad they chose the US-based Healthbase to connect them to medical and dental facilities in Costa Rica and also so they could benefit from the various concierge services offered by the company.
If you are an eco-tourist looking for affordable medical attention, then Costa Rica is a perfect destination for you. The beautiful surroundings you will get for recuperation will be an added bonus. Just remember to do your due diligence or simply hire a medical travel agent like Healthbase to save you the headache. Also, when you are in Costa Rica remember to make a bird-watching stop because the country is home to 800 species of them!