Two basic systems of medical insurance exist in Costa Rica:
The Government socialized medical system : It is the most economical and covers all doctor, hospitalization and surgeries, along with prescription medicines. It is operated without appointment, or a specific doctor, on a first come, first served basis, at State hospitals and clinics. No deductible is payable for the service, or prescription provided.
Private medical insurance offered through the National Insurance Institute (INS): Various medical insurance programs are available with premiums varying according to the disclosed medical conditions of the applicant. Still, it is very affordable when compared with U. S. HMO’s. It is a system involving specific doctors and with appointments at private clinics, largely located in the San Jose area, with 10% or 20% deductibles, depending on the insurance policy, for doctor consultations, hospitalization and surgeries, along with prescription medicines (eg. Doctor consultation = $40.00 U.S.; patient pays deductible of $4 or $8).