By Chrissie Long | Tico Times Staff
Costa Rica falls behind the United States in almost every economic statistic.
The GDP per capita is $35,000 higher in the United States, average income is $45,000 above Costa Rica’s $5,400 and the little Central American country can’t compete with the amount of money flowing through the U.S.’s financial sector.
But Costa Rica is one up when it comes to health. Spending $6,000 less per capita, Costa Ricans not only have a longer life expectancy, but they enjoy wider access to health care.
Hospital Clínica Bíblica, one of Costa Rica's three Joint Commission accredited private hospitals. Photo by Harmony Reforma | Tico Times
In a three-part series, The Tico Times spoke with doctors, health administrators and international analysts to find out what the United States can learn from this little country.
Caja, a Model Health System? digs into Costa Rica’s public health system and examines the achievements and the shortfalls of a state-run entity. The Tico Times spoke with the head health administrator; frustrated, yet grateful patients; and international health experts to determine what the United States might learn from this public option.
Although working for a respected private clinic, Dr. Danilo González swears by Costa Rica's "excellent" public hospitals. Photo by Whitney Martin | Tico Times
Private Health Care Provides Options considers Costa Rica’s private arm – which attracts thousands of foreigners every year for high-quality, yet affordable care – as a counterweight to the public system. The article examines how the insurance market works, who uses the private system and why this piece is critical to health care here.
The Path to Better Health takes a look at what makes Costa Rica’s health system strong – and in what areas the country is falling behind – and cites leading analysts on proposals for improvement.