After my second week in Costa Rica I woke up in the middle of the night nauseous, and immediately knew something was wrong. The following morning, I woke up to a text from my friend who was also sick. It was time to see a doctor. This is when I had my first experience receiving healthcare in Costa Rica.
As an international student in Costa Rica, I had to make sure that I had health insurance that would cover healthcare while abroad. Often students are covered under the same insurance that they have in the United States, and if the insurance is not accepted at that time, the insurance company will reimburse later. Because my regular insurance does not cover me while I am abroad, I ended up getting GeoBlue international insurance. Due to having private insurance I was able to go to a private hospital.
The hospital that we went to is the same hospital where we take classes. Clinica Biblica is the only non-profit hospital in Costa Rica. When we walked into the emergency room and told the receptionist what was wrong, she looked at the insurances that we had and had us fill out information about ourselves. I had to call my insurance company and they were extremely helpful with making sure the hospital had everything they needed to cover my visit to the emergency room. I waited about a half an hour to see a doctor. During my visit I was sent to have a blood test, and after an hour I received my results. Thirty minutes after receiving my results, my doctor gave me a prescription for antibiotics and a few other medications. My doctor spoke English which made it easier for me to communicate how I felt and tell him my symptoms. I had to pay for the medicine, but my insurance said that it can be reimbursed later with the receipts and copy of the prescription. Overall, it was a much faster visit to the emergency room than it would have been in Philadelphia.
My experience with a private hospital was very good, but private hospitals have hardly any patients compared to public hospitals. This is because most people only have the public insurance because Costa Rica has a universal healthcare system. This causes public hospitals to have more challenges, such a long wait times. In my next blog I will explain more about the universal healthcare system in Costa Rica.