Posts Tagged ‘Costa Rica Residency’

Is Costa Rica Medical Care really free?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Costa Rica Living, Costa Rica Medical Care, Costa Rica Service Providers, EX PATS in Costa Rica, FAQ's

Is Costa Rica Medical Care really free?

Costa Rica has some of the BEST medical care in the world. One of the biggest businesses here is what is called Medical tourism. The quality is so good, and so advanced that people fly from all over the world for everything from cosmetic surgeries, to hip and knee replacements, Lasik eye, and dental work. And it is a fraction of the costs compared to countries like the USA; generally about 15% of what you would pay back home. Many of the Doctors did their residencies in the USA and the nurses and staff is some of the friendliest and nicest people you have ever met. Thousands of people come here every year for procedures.

Costa Rica Medical Care

Costa Rica has Socialized medicine, like many countries in the world, and for all citizens it is “free.” But as we all know, nothing is really free; it has to be paid for somewhere. In Canada, you pay for it with massive taxes, some of the highest in the world. So you might not physically send a check every month to Blue Cross Blue Shield, but trust me, you are paying for it every paycheck in your income tax. Costa Rica medical care is very similar. The system is called CAJA, which represents all the services that are given to the people; medical, Social Security, disability. Every month, the employers send a percentage of the employee’s salary into the system which goes to fund these services. Self Employed people have to claim a salary in the corporation and base their CAJA payment on that amount.

If you move to Costa Rica, you are probably not going to be working for a company and if you are then they will withhold some of your check to make sure you have access to CAJA. You will either be an investor, who is living off of their assets; a retiree living off of their pension; or a self-employed Entrepreneur running a business of some kind. This is also how you will obtain your residency. With all 3 of these an income level will be established and you will have to pay into the system to obtain the CAJA and the “free” medical care. For most foreigners it is somewhere between $50 and $200 per month. In the scheme of life, this is a very small fee. Costa Rica wants foreigners to move here, retire, invest or start a business. But they cannot afford to just have thousands of gringos show up and start taking from their system without contributing something back. The last thing they want is a bunch of old, sick people, moving here, and using up their FREE medical services and milking the system. They want people who are investing and contributing to the system, and they will welcome you with open arms. What a concept huh? And if you want or need good medical care, this is a very small price to pay to be allowed into the CAJA. Thousands of Ex Pats are enjoying and using this every single day.

Costa Rica FAQ's

I am a permanent resident of Costa Rica and pay a monthly payment into the CAJA. I don’t look at it as paying for the medical; I look at it as a small fee to be able to live in paradise. If you told me 20 years ago I could live in the most beautiful place in the world for less than 2k a year “fee” SIGN ME UP. Although I am in the CAJA system and have access to the care, I probably will never use it, as I also have private medical insurance, as do many of my clients. Obviously if you can afford to purchase private medical insurance you will, as it gives you access to more services without having to wait. Like anything that is free, you usually have to stand in line and might have to wait for certain services. With private insurance, just like back home, I can pick the Doctor, pick the hospital, and set up an appointment. Most of the private insurance carriers here are under the Lloyds of London Umbrella, and it covers you ANYWHERE in the world. I have a phenomenal policy, with only a $2000 deductible and I pay less than $300 per month. Similar coverage in the USA is over $12000 PER YEAR. The catch though, is that I MUST live outside of the USA; easy for me as I have no desire to EVER GO BACK.

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One of the main reasons so many people choose to live here is because of the phenomenal Costa Rica medical care. And with 3 hospitals here in the Liberia area, most foreigners choose this location for living. Other than San Jose, there are really not many options for great medical care, as most of the country is very rural and underdeveloped. And the majority of people moving here want to live at the beach, not in some crowded city with buses, taxis, traffic and smog. Here we have some of the best hospitals in the world. There is the CIMA hospital just 7 minutes from the beach.

I had back surgery at CIMA so I can attest to you about the quality of the care.

There is the San Rafael El Arcangel Hospital in downtown Liberia. If it wasn’t for this hospital I might not be alive.

There is also a wonderful Public Hospital in Liberia as well.

Playas del Coco is the only community outside of San Jose that has a 24 hour EMERGENCY CLINIC, equipped with a state of the art Ambulance and a trained EMT. We have dozens of defibrillators now, located all over the community, and many local clinics as well for minor cuts and bruises. We also have one of the best Dental offices in the country. Truthfully, if you care about your medical services, and you should, there is only one country to move to, Costa Rica, and only one community to live in; THE BEACHES OF THE PAPAGAYO.

Hopefully, you will never need the Costa Rica medical care, but if you do; rest assured you will be in good hands.

Michael Simons


Costa Rica Video FAQ

Is there licensing for Costa Rica real estate agents?

Written by Michael Simons on . Posted in Buying and Selling Property in Costa Rica, Residency

Choosing among the many Costa Rica real estate agents can be a tough decision, and how you choose your agent can be based on many different factors. One of the most important questions perspective buyers need to know the answer to is, “Is there licensing for Real Estate Agents in Costa Rica?”

Yes, there is licensing in Costa Rica for real estate agents; unfortunately, it is not a requirement by law, but we are working very hard to change that. The government of Costa Rica does not force real estate agents to be licensed, but they are very lax about most requirements in business.

Hair stylists don’t need a license and neither do massage therapists, personal trainers or most contractors. It is up to each industry to take control of their own destiny and change it, just like the USA did 50 or 60 years ago.

Fortunately, the government of Costa Rica is changing their ways. Recently, the country passed a law, that said ALL real estate agents and property managers MUST be registered by SUGEF, which is the banking authority that oversees all money transactions. Escrow agents and companies are registered with SUGEF as an example. The individual must be a permanent resident of Costa Rica, or a citizen of Costa Rica. They must have a background check done by the Costa Rica OIJ and a USA background check done by the FBI. Their bank accounts will be monitored by SUGEF as well as the banks themselves, and if a person receives a commission or handles third party funds, and they are not registered, their accounts will be immediately shut down.

Professional Costa Rica real estate agents formed their own boards over a decade ago and have encouraged everyone in the industry to join. Our classes are based upon the same requirements as NAR (National Association of Realtors) and we monitor and police ourselves, adhering to the highest standards of ethical practices.

Association of Costa Rica real estate agentsThere is CRGAR (Costa Rica Global Associations of Realtors) and CCCBR (The Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce for Real Estate Camara Costaricense de Correadores de Bienes y Raices in Spanish).  Together we are pushing the Senate to pass a law making it mandatory that all real estate agents become licensed according to a standard of ethics you would expect in this industry. We hope in the next couple years to have this accomplished but, in the meantime, it is up to the buyers and sellers to weed out the fly by night agents in our industry.

If you are trying to choose among the many Costa Rica real estate agents,  I encourage you to ask them the three following questions:

1. Are you a Legal Permanent Resident or Citizen of Costa Rica? If their answer is NO, or vague at best, immediately stop communicating with them and find another agent. Ask to see their Cedula, which is their Costa Rica identification. If they are not a Permanent Resident they are working illegally. First of all, anyone who hasn’t even taken the time to invest in their own ability to stay and work legally in this country surely isn’t going to have your best interest at heart. Secondly, they are just looking to make enough commission to stay a little while longer in paradise, before they pack up and move to another destination. Their only concern is their income, NOT finding you the correct, best and safe investment and they surely won’t be here later on when you move or need to resell your property.

2. Are you licensed by CRGAR or CCCBR? Anyone who is representing themselves as an agent, who hasn’t taken the licensing classes, obviously can’t be educated about all the intricacies involved with purchasing property in a foreign country. Find yourself another agent who treats real estate as a career and not just a way to pay the bills or something to do to keep from being bored.

3. What do you own in Costa Rica? Show it to me. This is an essential question. It is amazing to me how many real estate agents don’t even own a piece of property themselves, but rather rent a house or a condo.  How can you expect to get investment advice from someone who hasn’t even purchased a property with their own money?  Surely this person is not in this business for the long haul and can’t be very good at what they do if they don’t even make enough money to buy a small piece of paradise themselves.  We require all our agents to be owners of properties themselves before we even consider bringing them on board.  Most of my agents were clients first, just like I was.  I bought my first property from Tres Amigos back in 1999, and then came back and bought the company.

4. Are you registered with SUGEF? This is obvious. If the answer is NO, then immediately say goodbye to this individual and find yourself another agent.

Every week I get emails from agents in North America who want to move here and sell real estate.  They send me their resumes and tell me about all their successes but I always say the same thing.  Stop in and see me on your next visit.  I would never consider hiring an agent off of an inquiry or an email.  I would expect them to make the same commitment we all did. 

First, purchase a property and obtain your residency.  Buying a property for $200,000 is the easiest and fastest way to obtain your residency under the  Inversionista Residency Status, and one of the only ways that allow you to work.

For in depth information about Residency in Costa Rica Check out these Blog Posts:

How To Get Your Residency in Costa Rica

What Are The Benefits of Costa Rican Residency?

People that obtain their residency under the Pensionado status are NOT allowed to earn an income.

Second, move to Costa Rica and take the CRGAR courses.

Third, know what the heck you are talking about.  I once got an email from an agent in Orlando who wanted to move here.  He said “It has always been a dream of mine to live on an island.” I replied; if you don’t even know that Costa Rica is not an island, you are never going to make it as a real estate agent.  Thanks for contacting me, have a great day, good bye.

We are a Real Estate Company and our ONLY focus is to help you invest and / or relocate if you so desire.  We don’t do rentals; we don’t do property management and we don’t book tours or do fishing excursions.  A jack of all trades is a master of none.  We are a fulltime professional real estate company and over 90% of my business comes from referrals.  Our reputation is EVERYTHING.

All of my agents have a vested interest in Costa Rica and we have chosen to make this our career and our home. This is not a job; we are not here for a summer vacation.  We live here and LOVE Costa Rica and are committed to helping you find your little piece of paradise.  Hope to see you down here soon.  Know that you can count on us when you need a Costa Rica real estate agent.

The highest compliment I can receive is the referral of your friends, family and business associates. Thank you for your trust.

Michael Simons

October 2019
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